Saturday, June 25, 2011

THEATER: Spiderman

So, despite awful reviews and many cast injuries, I decided my New York summer wouldn't be complete without seeing Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark on Broadway. My morning started at 9AM when Brandon and I went to Broadway to get in line for student rush tickets for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The line was ridiculously long and I knew we would have no chance of getting tickets so instead we walked a few blocks to the Spider-Man theater. After a 45 minute wait we had tickets in our hands for the 2PM matinee for a reasonable price of $30 each. We didn't get to choose our tickets since it was general rush, so we were placed in Orchestra row ZZ; at first we were excited that we had orchestra seats until we realized we were literally in the last row.

The first 20 minutes of the show were awful and nothing how I would imagine a Spiderman show to be like. It started with a history of Arachne, a Greek mythology of the first spider. Women flew across stage, weaving a web as Brandon and I stared at each other double checking we were in the right theater.  20 more minutes into the show I was surprised that the actor playing Spiderman was not the best singer, which was made even worse by the cheesy songs he was singing. I was rather disappointed in Bono, who wrote all the music. The song "DIY world" was probably one of the worst. As a craft girl who loves DIY (Do It Yourself_ projects, the song about turning the world into genetically modified creatures was quite disturbing. The only catchy song was "Rise Above," which was repeated multiple times in the show. They never even sang the Spiderman theme song though!

The best part of the play was the set. Screens in the background displayed action packed comic scenes and views of New York City. Backdrops bended and folded into new scenes and the best was a downward view from the Chrysler building with taxi lights down below. The setting was all very comic-book like with backdrops that looked like sketches, over exaggerated costumes and colorful clothing. Fight scenes were accompanied by "bam" and "pow" and other comic book fight noises. After Peter Parker's transformation into Spiderman he flies across the stage and through the audience. Unfortunately since I was in the last row I missed some of the stunts that took place in the balcony above us. The many flips and stunts were possible by having about 8 different actors playing Spiderman, which was obvious sometimes when Spiderman would fly to one side of the stage and then appear in the balcony a moment later. I was really curious if the actor playing Peter Parker was even doing any of the stunts.

Act Two was significantly better than Act One. There were much more stunts that were very good, despite the few minute "technical difficulty" pause where the audience laughed and slow clapped until the harness was fixed. The second act was much more Spiderman like with fighting and interactions with Mary Jane and Peter and I felt more involved in the play than the first act. The whole play I was wondering when the famous Spidey kiss would take place, and it finally happened during the bows.

One of my favorite scenes from the TV show The OC, replicating the perfect Spiderman kiss.