Reviews cast harsh light on ‘Turn Off the Dark’

Despite another delay in the official opening — this time to March 15 — the critics have unleashed their savage reviews of this new musical which has been in previews at the Foxwood Theater since Nov. 28. The opening was first set for Dec. 21 and then, after disastrous early previews, was pushed back first to Jan. 11 and then to Monday before being bounced to next month.

Tony Award champ Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”) is directing this trouble-plagued production that boasts the first Broadway score by U2‘s Bono and the Edge. The trio are said to be working on the show still and promise a new ending before that mid-March opening night. From these early reviews, there is certainly plenty of fine-tuning still to be done on this musical.

Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times judged the show to be, “a teetering colossus that can’t find its bearings as a circus spectacle or as a rock musical.” For Ben Brantley of the New York Times, “this was not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway, it may also rank among the worst.”

Washington Post scribe Peter Marks thought, “The 8-year-old boys in the audience might be able to key on the Cirque du Soleil-style stunts on wires and video-game graphic elements, and probably not worry too much that ‘Spider-Man’ is a tangle of disjointed concepts, scenes and musical sequences that suggests its more appropriate home would be off a highway in Orlando.”

And the trades were no less kind. David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter found, “an underwhelming score is the least of the show’s worries. What really sinks it is the borderline incoherence of its storytelling.” And Steven Suskin of Variety said, “Some of the dialogue, by Taymor and Glen Berger, seems ad-libbed on the spot and there are a couple of big holes in the story.”

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