Dylan Jones: 'Reviewing a preview of the Spiderman musical is a bit like reviewing a newspaper at 3.30pm'

Share
Related Topics

If you believe the critics who have rounded on Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, you'll believe not only that a man cannot fly, he can't sing or dance either. Tired of waiting for the musical to open, a few weeks ago reviewers broke with protocol and reviewed the preview, which – frankly – is a bit like reviewing a newspaper at 3.30 in the afternoon on the day before publication.

I saw the show in New York last week, and, having read all the reviews, wasn't at all sure what to expect (Icarus, or Mr Bojangles masquerading as Bono?). Would I walk away comparing it to The Capeman, Paul Simon's ill-conceived Broadway debut, or would I run down 42nd Street, kicking my heels and flinging my po'boy cap into the air?

Well, the answer is a lot closer to the latter. Sure, the first 20 minutes are way too slow, and yes the show could do with another killer tune up front, but it soon begins to take off, vertically almost, with pretty much every scene being better than the one before. All the Mary Poppins-style flying around is great, too, and has some of the best staging I've ever seen on Broadway.

I can understand why some critics have been underwhelmed by the music, as it's rare that you hear a decent cover version of a U2 song. But there are some good songs here, and while you know that they will resonate more when you eventually hear U2 performing them (and you will), I'm sure by the time the show has been tightened up, they'll seem far more hummable ("Bouncing Off The Walls", "Rise Above" and "If The World Should End" sound particularly strong).

I saw the matinee performance on a cold and snowy Saturday, but the audience left the theatre with the sort of smiles I haven't since seeing Mamma Mia! five years ago (and this after giving the players a standing ovation). One wonders whether, having been so vociferous in their disapproval, the critics would dare to attempt anything approaching a volte-face – although the negative reviews appeared to have little influence on the audience.

And the merch? Let me tell you – like Spidey himself – it was flying.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Negotiator - OTE £23,000

£13500 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning, Bolton base...

Recruitment Genius: Client Account Executive

£23000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Account Executive is r...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketing Executive

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Full Time position available now at a growing...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive + incentives + uncapped comms: SThree:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the SNP’s ‘fundamental problem’, says Corbyn, is that too many people support it

John Rentoul
An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai  

China has exposed the fatal flaws in our liberal economic order

Ann Pettifor
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future