Frontman admits he agrees with poor reviews of struggling Broadway musical – and he’d been saying the same things himself


Criticism: Bono

U2 frontman Bono says he agrees with poor reviews of the Spider-Man musical featuring tracks written by him and guitarist the Edge.

It’s believed to be the most expensive Broadway show in history, having cost more than $70m to stage – but it’s been hit with problems since long before it opened.

In February critics broke their own rule of not covering shows which had only been previewed in order to pan it. A New York Times review said: “The sheer ineptitude loses its shock value early. After 20 minutes, the question you ask yourself changes from, ‘How can $65 million look so cheap?’ to, ‘How long before I’m out of here?’

“The songs by Bono and the Edge are rarely allowed to take full, attention-capturing form. Mostly they blur into a sustained electronic twang of varying volume, increasing and decreasing in intensity, like a persistent headache.

“Lead character Peter Parker rasps dejectedly, ‘I’d be myself if I knew who I’d become.’ That might well be the official theme song of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

Now Bono admits he was in agreement with the poor reviews. The singer tells ABC: “It might have been a little hard for some people around here to take it – but we don’t disagree.

“That’s the sort of stuff we were saying backstage. The last version had a lot of magic and mysterious stuff. It was beautiful in so many ways – it just didn’t cohere.”

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark closed its preview run in April after more bad reviews and poor box-office takings. Three cast members had been injured in separate incidents including lead stuntman Chris Tierney, who almost died in a 30ft fall when a safety harness wasn’t secured. He spent months in hospital before returning to the show.

Director Julie Taymor left the production on April 11 and has been replaced by Phil McKinley, whose changes to the show – including pushing the U2 tracks to the front of the musical score – are being generally well-received. It’s now playing to 95% full houses.

It opened for new previews ten days ago, but producers have asked critics to wait until its official opening date of June  10 before writing anything more about it.

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