The accepted custom on Broadway is that critics don’t review a show until its official opening night — even if audiences have been paying to see previews for several weeks.
Some critics have broken with that custom, however, for the much-delayed “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” and the people putting on the show are not pleased.
Critics for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and New York magazine, among others, posted reviews “Spider-Man” on Monday (Feb. 7), which was supposed to be the show’s opening night after more than two months of previews (and rather healthy box-office returns). When the opening date was moved yet again, to March 15, the publications decided to stop waiting and send critics to review on the show.
The reviews have been pretty uniformly bad, which prompted a spokesperson for the show to lash out at the critics for not waiting till the official opening.
“The PILE-ON by the critics was ridiculous and uncalled for. Their actions are unprecedented and UNCOOL!” spokesman Rick Miramontez tells EW (all-caps emphasis his). Here’s a sampling of what he’s so upset about: reviews of the $65 million production, directed by Julie Taymor with music by Bono and The Edge of U2:
“The sheer ineptitude of this show, inspired by the Spider-Man comic books, loses its shock value early. After 15 or 20 minutes, the central question you keep asking yourself is likely to change from ‘How can $65 million look so cheap?’ to ‘How long before I’m out of here?'” [New York Times]
“‘Spider-Man’ is faaaar out, man. It’s by turns hyperstimulated, vivid, lurid, overeducated, underbaked, terrifying, confusing, distracted, ridiculously slick, shockingly clumsy, unmistakably monomaniacal and clinically bipolar. But never, ever boring.” [New York magazine]
“It was hard for me to picture adults or young people yearning for a second visit, never mind critics who may feel obliged to check back in with the production when (or should I say if?) it officially opens. Nothing cures the curiosity about ‘Spider-Man’ quite like seeing it.” [Los Angeles Times]
“I haven’t seen every stinker ever produced, so I can’t categorically confirm that ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ belongs in the dankest subbasement of the American musical theater. But its application certainly seems to be in order.” [Washington Post]
“Time and again, the show runs away from what I suspect the creators feared would be too predictable or cheap, but that we miss. There is no direct Peter-to-Spidey transformation scene. There are no shooting webs (not substantively, anyway). There is no rush of romance. There is no truth.” [Chicago Tribune]