In fact, SMTOTD is a fast paced, entertaining production with earnest performances, good dance choreography and inventive, if sometimes garish, set design. Special thanks has to go to the nine stuntmen who doubled for the show's star Reeve Carney. They (and Carney during the climax) showed real bravery in literally swinging over the Foxwoods stage from great heights attached to a reasonably secure harness. (And sitting in the balcony where I was, well, you haven't lived till you see someone in a Spider-Man costume in front of you dive off towards the stage below!) Their important contribution to the show, bringing real honest suspense and excitement to nightly audiences, cannot be overlooked.
The plot, taken mostly from the first two Tobey Macguire/Spider-Man films, revolves around young nerd Peter Parker (Carney) who gets bitten by a genetically enhanced spider and develops spider-like powers, which he uses to fight crime. Meanwhile, harassed scientist Norman Osborne (Patrick Page) tying to save both his comapny and marriage, metamorphs into the Green Goblin and proceeds to spread terror around NYC. Osborne even creates his own badguy squad by mutating his former business enemies as the "Sinister Six". Can Spider-Man stop these villians and still keep his girlfriend Mary Jane (played this particular evening by Kristen Martin)? And what part does the fallen goddess Arachne (Jodi McFadden) play?
Carney, Page and Martin, along with Michael Mulheren as "Daily Bugle" publisher J.Jonah Jameson, give enthusiastic performances, both acting and musically-wise. They've got great "pipes"! As noted earlier, the production's pacing is fast, but there are some drawbacks, such as the goofy-looking costumes the Goblin and his creations wear. The much-publicized score by U2's Bono and The Edge is so-so; the instrumental passages are good in invoking suspense, but the songs, with maybe the exception of "Bullying by Numbers" in the first act, do not stand out. (Also count the number of times a certain rock group's songs are referenced during the show.) And is there a really good reason why Spider-Man co-creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko aren't mentioned in the credits?
Otherwise, "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" is a lot of fun. Check it out this summer before heading back to school.