From the mouths of babes some things can be more precious than ever imaginable. But I’ll get to that in a sec.
On Saturday we almost didn’t see Spiderman on Broadway. Well, it wasn’t as severe a near miss as our incident on Friday. As a matter of fact, it was nowhere close to that. Okay, let me back up a skosh. Several months ago, perhaps three, perhaps more, Ariel’s nephew, my pally-babes J-vich, decided he wanted to take his two young cousins (who I only realized this past weekend were not his nephews…silly me), a lifelong friend, the friend’s brother, Ariel and me to see Spiderman, a sort of boys day out in the city. A recent conversation with J-vich locked into our minds the show was at 3 and we arranged a time we’d pick everyone up, with time to spare to grab a pre-show nosh, see the show, and then go somewhere afterwards for food the two kids would get a kick out of. But, while lounging around on Saturday morning, Ariel had the foresight to double check the show time and lo and behold, the three o’clock start time was for Sunday. Saturday was 2pm. So, we had to hustle, round up the troops and get a slightly earlier start. We still had time for a leisurely lunch at Applebee’s.
Okay, so the show. First the good points. I truly enjoyed the set, mimicking as closely as real life could, the pages from a pulpy comic book. And I really liked the final scene, with that awesome perspective of the Chrysler Building. I also gained an education as to how Peter Parker happened to become the superhero. I also liked the fact that Spiderman didn’t plummet to sure injury as several predecessors had under Julie Taymor’s direction.
Now for the bad points. As J-vich pointed out, the set-up, the backstory of Peter Parker’s transformation seemed to take forever. I had the feeling, all throughout, the actors were in a funk, or mad at the world. Not sure what it was, but there was an apparent issue. Their performances all felt stiff and wooden and lines sounded as if they were an obligation to speak. Most musical numbers sounded off-key.
During the first aerobatic number, with Peter Parker gussied up in a huge waist harness attached to cables that helped him “dance on the ceiling” as his uncle in the other room prophesied he was doing, had me clicking my tongue, as the huge lifesaver-like device was distracting and I thought, hmm, all the improvements and we get something so clunky as this? But later, when Spiderman went swinging through the skies overhead tethered to his web on his crime fighting missions, the girdling was more inconspicuous and lent to the elegance of his flight.
There was a little something for everyone in this production; a underlying love story for the grownups, comic book characters galore for any comic book fan and a set that was truly note-worthy. All in all, not the best or worst I’ve ever seen. I gave it a 6.
From the mouths of babes
We went to Jekyll & Hyde afterward, to give the kids a fun, eerie treat for dinner. It’s the one place in all of New York I’ve never gone to the bathroom because I hear the door is nearly impossible to find; it’s a secret panel in the bookshelves. Actually, I sneaked a peak this time around and saw where people were going. Only thing is, they never came back. <gulp!>
Ghosts and goblins, a skeleton band, a Frankenstein monster, portraits with shifting eyes, mounted animal heads entertain throughout dinner, as do a butler, and sometimes a French maid. On this particular night, a vampiress lurked about, stopping by unsuspecting guests’ tables. From behind she tapped little Michael on the shoulder and he instantly froze, his eyes wide with disbelief. He came into his own when the butler came and sat with us and they traded stories about Spiderman, but the vampire lady kept lurking, keeping her eye on Michael. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and he whispered across the table that he was ready to leave, that “that lady is hitting on me,” and we all roard. That was easily the line of the day and I gave that one a 10!