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“Hercules” Review: We Couldn’t Get In But Could Sort Of Hear Some From Outside The Gates

by Zach Raffio. @zachraffio.

NEW YORK, NY - The Public Theater’s world premiere of “Hercules” has proven to be one of the hottest tickets in NYC, with hundreds of fans waiting outside every day for the chance to be chosen by a lottery that rivals the Mega Millions. With a show in town that hot, The Broadway Beat hopped onto the scene to see if it lived up to the hype. Of course, we couldn’t get in either, but we could hear some from outside the gates, I think?


Here’s our review:


The show kicks off with lots of clapping and cheering - this may be from the cast members on stage, or just the audience, it’s tough to tell. 


Still, it got our whole group (including two unpaid interns who were told they’d get to see the show in exchange for a summer of free labor) off the concrete (we forgot chairs) and onto our feet.


Most of the dialogue and music sounded quite muffled, which was an interesting creative choice and not one that we likely would have made. People seemed to be laughing at a lot of Hades’ quips and one-liners, but to us it sounded like low-frequency mumbling. I guess art really is subjective.


The Three-Headed Hydra sounded big, scary and grandiose - but all we could see was faint flashing lights from over the top of the highly-guarded gates (we tried to run in).


From the large posters outside, it appears that Jelani Aladdin was perfectly handsome, quirky and swaggerful as the titular Hercules. 


We would have loved to see him actually perform the role, but staring at the poster while we listened to the faint sounds of a Disney musical blend with a hot dog cart man yelling “end of day dogs, end of day dogs, 50% percent off” was close enough.


The production features five new songs that all sounded a bit the same - lyricless humming over droning bass with no other instruments. Quite far from the pure Disney magic of “I Can Go The Distance”, which in this production sounded like a Sigur Ros remix.


In what we assume was the second act, just as Hercules offers to free Meg in exchange for his own life (which in this version I swear we heard as “wife”, which makes it all more confusing) we were asked to leave by security after they noticed us placing drinking glasses up to the side of the gate in order to hear better, which apparently only works on actual walls and not chain link fences.


So, in conclusion, “Hercules” is a visually disappointing show with inaudible singing and dialogue, seating that is wet and cold and also a sidewalk, a hot dog man constantly interrupting with his discounts, and to top it all off, the show ends abruptly, halfway through the second act.


Dreams are for rookies, and it looks like theater productions are as well.


1 Star.