Friday 23 March 2018

The curse of Spider-Man strikes again

Vincent Murphy in new york

THEY used to call 'Macbeth' the "cursed" play -- but now it seems the Shakespearian tragedy has a rival in U2's new Spider-Man musical on Broadway.

The $65m (€49.7m) production, which has been bedevilled by delays and injuries, suffered another major setback with a serious accident at Monday night's preview performance in New York.

Audience members watched in horror as a stuntman playing Spider-Man fell up to 30 feet into the orchestra pit at the front of the stage, after a safety harness failed with seven minutes left to go in the show.

The actor, Christopher Tierney, who is the lead double for Spider-Man actor Reeve Carney, was stretchered out of the theatre and taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment on minor injuries.

Questions are once again being asked about whether the show is safe to work on.

New York's Department of Labour was due to visit the set last night, and actors union Equity said it was monitoring the situation.

The accident happened during a scene where Spider-Man comes to the rescue of girlfriend Mary Jane, who is dangling from a bridge.

The safety harness, which was meant to hold Spider-Man in place as the lights went out, instead flicked off his back, leaving the actor to fall the equivalent of two storeys, according to audience members.

There was a cry of "Call 911" from fellow actors, and producers told the audience they were halting the show and asked them to leave.

Tierney is the fourth actor to be injured on the show.

At the first preview in November, actress Natalie Mendoza, who plays new villain Arachne, suffered concussion.

She only returned to performances last week after two weeks of rest. Yesterday, she tweeted: "Please pray for Chris, my superhero who quietly inspires me every day with his spirit. A light in my heart went dim tonight."

Two other actors were injured during rehearsals, one breaking a toe, the other breaking both his wrists during the complicated stunts in the show.

Just last week, producers confirmed they were pushing back opening night for the show yet again.

It is now due to open on February 7 instead of January 11.

The creators are still tweaking the production; reports suggest they were considering a completely new finale for the show after a lukewarm response during previews.

Lead producer Michael Cohl said it had "become clear that we need to give the team more time to execute their vision" and that he had "no intention of cutting a single corner in getting to the finish line".

'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' is the most expensive production ever to be staged on Broadway.

Bono and the Edge, who have been touring Australia and New Zealand with U2, are expected to return to the Foxwoods Theatre off Times Square to renew work on it after Christmas.

There were no scheduled shows for last night, but two performances were due to take place today.

Irish Independent

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