Spiderman the Musical has been in the press more than most Broadway shows – the multi-million dollar production has been “plagued with problems” since its 2010 debut. Several actors have been severely injured and the huge box office losses are well publicised.
Based on the Marvel comic character and set in New York, it is the ideal story to stage in the Big Apple. For tourists like me, it was certainly a novelty watching a show based on such a typically American comic. With such enormous costs, this is a musical unlikely to ever transfer to the London’s West End so watching it on Broadway felt like a special treat.
Fighting our way through the flashing lights of Times Square, we were relieved to spot the Foxwoods Theatre. Inside the place was swarming with excited guests of all ages, I began to wonder who had labelled this show a flop as the audience numbers certainly weren’t suffering when I went. Better still, everyone was having a great time – it is impossible not to be impressed by Spidey swooping over the stalls. I have seen the majority of musicals currently on in the West End and nothing compares to the stunts showcased here… it was more like a Cirque du Soleil production.
The critics have slaughtered Turn off the Dark declaring it “the worst show ever on Broadway” and since its opening two years ago, the production has been reworked provoking only slightly more positive reactions. We enjoyed the show immensely though noticed some its shortcomings. The narrative follows the life of protagonist Peter Parker from his normal daily routine at school to his extraordinary transformation into Spiderman and all the trouble he encounters on the way. The cast undertakes a massive challenge realising this show on stage, technically it is a minefield. Reeve Carney is very likeable as the nerdy Peter, he has plenty of energy and is convincing as the young superhero. Last time I saw a show on Broadway I was disappointed with the vocal quality, but the Spiderman cast has good intonation and diction throughout, and the lead characters, in particular Rebecca Faulkenberry as Mary Jane, have lovely tone and line. The choreography is striking and dynamic and has been mastered by the chorus; the band provide emphatic accompaniment.
Turn off the Dark is an incredible visual spectacle with extreme acrobatics and jaw-dropping sets, one thing is guaranteed… you will never see anything else like it.
Thanks to NYC & Co and The Broadway Collection.
More information: http://www.broadwaycollection.com/ (@BwayCollection)
Visitors need to book via a UK tour operator: www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk