I have been so curious about the epic Broadway disaster Spiderman:Turn Off the Dark, and while my efforts to see it have been less than fruitful, thankfully faithful readers have been more fortunate!
Good friend and fan of the Junkyard Meredith Bouvier risked life and limb to see this show – let’s reward her bravery with a ‘hazah!’ in her direction and a solid read of her review.
Thank you for your bravery Mere, we shall honor your work always.
I arrived late to the second to last performance of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark before it was shut down for some script renovation. As I walked in, Peter Parker was just being bitten by the magic spider that gives him his super-strength and web making abilities. I realized that I don’t really care about what happened before that anyway, so I guess I was right on time.
The first half of the show was the telling of how Peter Parker became Spiderman, how he fell in love with Mary Jane, how the Green Goblin became the Green Goblin, then how Spiderman killed him, and how Spiderman quickly became NYC’s go-to superhero. A series of montages summed this up using blow up dolls, cardboard cutouts, and guys in all black whisking the characters across the stage to simulate slow motion, which I found hilarious. A bunch of obnoxious bickering teenagers served as the narrators, and I must admit, the urge to jump onstage and slap these kids was overwhelming.
After intermission, I got a little lost, since the ADHD script got a little out of hand, I assume, by trying to cram every Spiderman factoid into a 3 hour show. First, there was a super-villian fashion show, where the most valuable adversaries were introduced one by one, strutting down the runway in some ridiculous costumes. My personal favorite was the “Bee-Dude” who seemed to have 250 pipe cleaners with bees on the end attached to his entire body. I also enjoyed sparkler man with the sparklers coming from his wrists and feet…because everyone loves sparklers.
Anyway, Arachnea was a new villian developed just for this show (because apparently the multitude of villians already introduced weren’t enough). She was a giant spider lady who had a crush on Spiderman and got all pissed when he wanted to give up his powers to be with Mary Jane. She came up with some poorly planned scheme to awaken the Spiderman inside, and when it actually worked, she… I dunno, changed her mind, I guess, and allowed him to go back to MJ.
So to sum it all up, the show has a great cast, (except for those annoying narrators!!), and the music (SO obviously U2 inspired), and flying stunts made it very enjoyable to watch (although I must admit I did fear witnessing one of the notorious “Spiderman injuries”). The writers just need to focus on choosing one plot for the script instead of telling every detail of every Spiderman subplot known to man. Currently, it is too all over the place for even me to follow, so I really felt bad for the 8 year old sitting in front of me, he probably had no clue what the heck was going on.