Spiderman is in the news again. This time for some truly appalling critiques. The media in the States has taken the unprecedented stand of reviewing a show whilst it is still in preview. This is in part to the fact the the official opening is being constantly delayed. Some of the critics have been exceedingly harsh about the whole production. Now normally this article would not appear in a technical theatre blog, but I think some of the problems with this production and why it has been panned by some of America;’s leading papers is the fact they are trying to put on stage what is a lot easier in the film medium. I do not know why we are trying to emulate film effects on stage. This production that is directed by Julie Taymor, of “Lion King” Fame is not having as much good fortune with Spiderman. This production has cost $65 million to stage, and what is interesting is that the preview tickets are full price, therefore it is generating $1.5 million in revenue per week.
There has been many technical flaws in this show, a lot to do with the flying sequences. Others have complained about the staging and bad writing. The show seems rather long at 2 hours 45mins plus something for technical hitches, at least you don’t have to pay extra for those. Tickets are up to nearly $300 per seat.In fact one reviewer from “The Washington Post” (Peter Marks, 8th Feb 2011) stated “a man appeared onstage to read a short speech about the production’s technical issues and to assure us that “the [New York State] Department of Labor has approved all of our aerial sequences.” This is an interesting turn of events and it again makes me think that we are trying “too hard”.
Where has the theatre gone now that spectacular seems to have replaced it. It seems that the producers are expecting the audiences to want spectacular in live theatre. This spectacular seems to be more important than the story. Now I like a technical challenge as a theatre technician but thee is a limit to what can be done, and if it does not always work after 20 or 30 previews maybe it is time to do it another way or simplify. Now even if this show does succeed it is one that is not going to tour well, so I don’t really expect to see it in Australia.
For those that want to read some reviews on the show follow the below links.
The New York Times
The Hollywood Reporter
The Washington Post
New York Post:
New York Daily News
Los Angeles Times
Incoherent and no fun
From New York Magazine: