Review: Mike Tyson's one-man show packs no punch

NEW YORK (AP) — There is apparently a threat by someone on Twitter to execute a shooting rampage at the Broadway theater that's playing "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth." This has added something sadly lacking in Tyson's one-man show: any sense of drama.

The former champion boxer and convicted rapist promises at the beginning of his odd and pathetic show, which mercifully ends its run Sunday at the Longacre Theatre, that he'll offer the unvarnished truth of his tortured life. What actually comes out sounds more like a press release written by someone else.

"I know many of you are probably wondering, 'What the hell is Mike Tyson going to do up here onstage tonight?'" he asks. "Well, frankly, I'm wondering the same thing, too."

The two-hour show, directed in a paint-by-numbers style by Spike Lee, doesn't really come to an answer about that. Nothing new or very interesting is revealed, and the stage hasn't been turned into a place for deep thinking. Maybe that's because it was written not by Tyson, but by his wife, Kiki, who got him sober and apparently convinced him that this embarrassment of a show would work.

"Really can't complain these days. I'm really grateful things have come full circle for me," he says, somewhat unconsciously mournful. "I'm pretty domesticated now."

The show traces Iron Mike's rise from violent street hood in Brooklyn to a fearsome athlete. Then comes the fall — prison inmate, tabloid target, cocaine and Evander Holyfield's delicious ear. (He admits he wanted to title the performance "Boxing, Bitches and Lawsuits.")

First wife Robin Givens and ex-manager Don King are excoriated. Kiki Tyson, not surprisingly, comes off angelic. As does trainer Cus D'Amato, a father figure as much as an adviser, who fed him with the thirst for success. The account of the accidental death of his 4-year-old daughter, Exodus, is heartbreaking. But unlike shows by masters of the genre — John Leguizamo, for instance — this is a string of anecdotes leading nowhere.

When the audience arrives, the Longacre has been turned into a dance club, with DJ Clark Kent spinning mostly Jay-Z from a box. The inside of the theater has been lazily decorated by Tim Mackabee with what looks like homemade banners from Brooklyn neighborhoods. (Carroll Gardens? Really?)

Projections of photos and videos accompany Tyson's soliloquies without adding much. Lee didn't feel it necessary to find much archive footage. So when Tyson is talking about his tough childhood home, the screen is filled with a nice-looking complex — it's the new one built over the slum. (Lee shakes his camera to make it look ominous, but it's futile.)

The stocky boxer opens the show seated in the dark as Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" plays, presumably to highlight the lyrics, "The greatest thing you'll ever learn/Is just to love and be loved in return."

"I promise if you listen and you really trust me, you'll leave here with both ears tonight," Tyson vows. The theater is half-empty and it soon gets emptier. Not everyone wants an earful of drivel. (Plus, there's more interesting things outside, like a police car in case the Twitter threat turns real.)

There's a funny story about Brad Pitt, who showed up one day as Givens' date while Tyson was still sleeping with her. The actor apparently looked pretty freaked out to see the muscular boxer. There's another rambling tale about Tyson fighting fellow boxer Mitch Green while his rival was on angel dust (he never stayed down).

Tyson denies raping 18-year-old Rhode Island beauty queen Desiree Washington. "I deserved to be punished for all the pain and humiliation I caused plenty of women. But I didn't deserve the punishment I got from this women," he says. That inexplicably leads to a funny story about Florence Henderson visiting him in prison.

It's clear that Tyson is not a natural stage presence. He actually seems like a changed man and a sweet one, too, but his high voice and mumbling make it hard to hear even — if you wanted to. He stumbles over words like "scrotum" and "abstinence" and blames Lee for salting the show with words to make him look smart.

But the fact that it's not in his own words just makes him look like a puppet with others pulling the strings — the very thing he complains about throughout his hard-knock life.

It's no contest: Tyson beaten by Broadway in a quick TKO.

___

Online:

http://www.tysononbroadway.com

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. Cuisia recently met with Filipino communities in San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

  • Philippines says China rushing construction in disputed sea
    Philippines says China rushing construction in disputed sea

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top diplomat said Thursday that China has been rushing construction projects, including massive land reclamation, in the disputed South China Sea in hopes of forestalling any legal moves against its vast territorial claims. …

  • Aquino takes responsibility for bungled mission in Philippines, but no apology
    Aquino takes responsibility for bungled mission in Philippines, but no apology

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Thursday took responsibility for a bungled security operation in January that left 44 police commandos dead, but offered no public apology for the clash that has become his biggest political crisis in years. Since the secret mission, Aquino's approval and trust ratings have plunged to their lowest level in five years, and a peace process with the country's largest Muslim rebel group has stalled. "To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt …

  • Marshall rolls out new headphone, speaker lines in PHL

    Established music brand Marshall is rolling out new headphone and speaker lines in the Philippine market. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options