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.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • Purisima denies endorsing successor
    Purisima denies endorsing successor

    Resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima denied reports that he has been urging President Aquino to appoint his protegé as the new police chief. “Contrary to news reports, PDG Alan La Madrid Purisima is not in any position to recommend and has not in fact recommended anyone to the President for appointment as next chief of the PNP,” his lawyer Kristoffer James Purisima said yesterday. Sources said that Purisima may have resigned but he reportedly remains …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options