We are so jealous of Alexandra Peers from The Observer, who got to see the catastrophic juggernaut that is Julie Taymor‘s production of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Why do we want to see it so bad? Because we like a little schadenfreude with our theatrical experiences, okay? Sue us.
But being among the first reviewers, Peers had some notes for Taymor, and a lot of it involved what to cut in the production to make it suck less, which gave us a glimpse at some of the weirder elements of the Spidey musical. Like the Goddess Athena, a “geek chorus,” and some references to the Ides (of March, presumably?)
Cut everything between the opening scene at the Brooklyn Bridge and the bit when Peter Parker’s crushing on Mary Jane in the radioactivity lab. Yes, all of it. That means the awkward high school rumble, the slow walk around Queens, the Goddess Athena (!), the first Norman Osborn rant, Mary Jane’s abusive dad…
Cut the comic-book writers. This laptop-toting Geek Chorus that narrates much of the action stop the proceedings cold whenever they show up.
As Editor Meghan pointed out, Spider-Man is already sort of a Greek tragedy in the traditional sense, so that may be what Taymor is extrapolating for her production. But with so many other elements to juggle with turning a comic book mythos into the most expensive stage production ever, you’d think that adding another conceptual layer to Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark would be like adding more twigs to this shit pyre.
Plus a “geek chorus” reminds us of all those “updated” versions of Shakespeare they’d try to get us interested in during high school drama class. “What if we put on Othello…but it’s in the future?!” “What if we set Oedipus in the Wild West?” No, shut up. Oedipus only works with vegetables.