Reviews: Spiderman Turn Off The Dark

An Ambitious Project Falls Short

I went to see this show yesterday, and jokes aside, the title of this review really sums up how I feel. There are good ideas, some good songs, and some good set designs- but none of it gels together very well, and you end up with a very mixed bag.

My first complaint starts with the beginning, which tells of Peter and how he became Spider Man. That's all well and good, but I feel that Spider Man is iconic enough that much of the audience knows his story- he could just give a recap-monologue. But Spidey's origin takes up the whole first act, and I felt like there wasn't a strong narrative to hold the plot together until act two. It just sort of wastes time until the Green Goblin shows up.

Speaking of wastes, there's a lot of pointless things that go on in the show. The bullies and Arachne are the two biggest examples. Both of the songs the bullies have could have been cut from the show and it wouldn't have changed a thing. All they do is establish that Flash is a generic Jerk Jock and by the time act two rolls around, he' pretty much disappeared.

Arachne is the biggest WTF of the show. She's supposedly Peter's Spirit Advisor, but she does absolutely. Nothing. I felt that she was a left over from an older version of the script. She was, in fact, the villain in the old script. Introducing a new villain? That's a cool idea! Shame they didn't use it.

The shows' second biggest failing is it's lack of consistent tone. One minute, Spider Man is fighting a giant blow up doll. The next, Uncle Ben is shot. I can't tell if it's trying to be funny, tongue-in-cheek campy, or serious. Because it's not very good at any of them. It really only succeeds at the camp part when the Green Goblin shows up.

It's painfully obvious that this show was cut to ribbons and stitched back together. It tries to be it's own story, and yet adapt two of the Sam Raimi movies. Frankly, they should have stuck with making their own story. At least then it would have been cohesive.

I don't really regret seeing this show- it was funny and genuinely entertaining at parts. It just ends up being a very take-it-or-leave-it experience. You could do better elsewhere.