Yesterday I went to see Spider-man: Turn off the Dark on Broadway. Was it the best Broadway show that I have ever seen? Not by any stretch of the imagination, but it was by far the most inventive. The set was one of the most incredible that I have ever seen – with props and set pieces that look like they were straight out of a comic (and an overall design that seems clearly inspired by the comic itself), it became very clear why this is one of the most expensive shows that Broadway has produced. They were innovative and creative with the set and I can only hope that other shows follow suit.
Unfortunately, I can’t heap the same praise on the production itself. When I walked into the theater, I remarked that after the early disasters, it was amazing that the show was still going strong three years later. The acting is uneven – some of the actors are too over-the-top (Dr. Osborn), while others are too understated (Mary Jane). The music is unremarkable, and at times bland. Some of the songs, while possibly good, fail when done in by weak singers. The choreography, while good, oftentimes seems thrown in because a Broadway show is supposed to have dancing.
The show relies too heavily on aerial stunts, and attempts to hide its choppy storyline with tricks above your head. However, even that cannot cover the fact that the first half of the show is almost painfully slow. The second half of the show does pick up a bit, and if you are a comic book fan, you will definitely love the over-the-top costumes, the use of video screens with cartoon depictions of the characters and even more aerial stunts.
All that said, the kids in the audience seemed to have a good time once Peter Parker became Spider-man. They loved the aforementioned aerial work and over-the-top costumes. What can I say, even I thought it was cool when Spider-man and the Green Goblin flew over my head. Parents, if you decide to take your kids to the show, be forewarned that some parts will be very scary to small children. The production recommends the show for kids ages 6 and older. We recommend taking kids over 8 years of age, and then only if they don’t scare easily.
If you’re a fan of superheroes and want to see the show’s aerial stunts, check out Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark for yourself and let us know what you think. The show is also offering kids who attend the show a limited-edition Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark backpack, while supplies last, for back-to-school season.
Spider-man is playing at the Foxwoods Theatre located 247 West 42nd Street, NYC. Ticket prices start at $49 for the Balcony and go up to $325 for Landing Zone tickets.
Disclosure: The reviewer was provided with complimentary tickets from NYMetroParent to attend the show to facilitate this review. All opinions are her own.
By Mikaela Walker