Liam Rudden: Spidey’s on song

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FORGET Tobey Maguire or even Andrew Garfield, Reeve Carney is Spider-Man. The only problem is, you’ll have to head to New York to see him.

Carney is the star of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (http://spidermanonbroadway.marvel.com/).

Costing £44.5 million to stage with additional weekly running costs of £750,000, the production is the most expensive show ever to swing onto Broadway. Despite this, it hasn’t been without its problems.

Much has been written about cast injuries, creative changes and delayed openings, so it was with trepidation I headed to the Foxwoods Theatre on West 42nd Street.

I needn’t have worried. To misquote Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, “with great power comes a great musical.”

Fresh, inventive and breath-taking, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is everything modern musical theatre should be.

Carney’s vulnerable super hero is the ideal beau for Rebecca Faulkenberry’s feisty Mary Jane Watson, and if ever a reminder were needed that there should be no disappointment in seeing an understudy, look no further than Jeb Brown. Manic, sympathetic and with effortless audience rapport, I can’t imagine a better Green Goblin.

Musically of course, the piece is a rock opera - what else would you expect from U2’s Bono and The Edge - but it’s not all jangly guitars and throbbing bass. The title track is evocative, haunting and mesmerising. Beautifully fragile, the composers’ Celtic roots colour the delivery. A Freak like Me Needs Company on the other hand, is a rousing tongue-in-cheek anthem, while Rise Above has a glorious hook.

The highlight of the show, however, is the battle to the death between Spidey and the Goblin. Fought out high above the heads of the audience, Spider-Man launches himself from platforms at dress circle level to soar through the air. It’s a spectacular finale that guarantees a standing ovation.

This Spider-Man really is amazing and worth a visit on your next trip Stateside.