As predicted, nobody could resist making puns about “knockouts” and “heavyweights” in reviewing Mike Tyson’s one-man show, “Undisputed Truth,” which is at the Longacre Theater on Broadway only through August 12th. The solo show marks Tyson’s Broadway, if not quite his acting, debut. (He was in “The Hangover.”) — and the Broadway debut as well of director Spike Lee.
The set-up is unusual for a Broadway show, and so is the reviewing — few of the regular critics weighed in. (That’s not a pun!). The consensus of those who did — It’s not great art, his swipes at his ex-wife Robyn Givens are revolting, but there is enough charisma and humor in his presentation to make the show entertaining — at least for those who are already fans.
There are more missed punches than knockout blows in this self-serving if weirdly fascinating one-man theatrical tell-all.
Like his life, the show is entertaining, fascinating and messy.
…Tyson laments blowing a $400 million fortune (helped by cheats working for him) and staunchly maintains his innocence on the rape conviction that landed him in prison. He deserved to go to jail for many things, he admits, “but not this.”
At least the champ made good on an early vow: “You’ll all go home with two ears.”
New York Post
…the show’s first hour in a nutshell: funny, cheeky, fast, with room for some teary sentiment. “She died of cancer,” Tyson says of his mother, “but I really think that she died of a broken heart.”
And then things start to drag as Tyson trots out one foe after another,
Newsday (written by Robert Cassidy
Kiki Tyson, his third wife, wrote a very clever script. Her husband veers off it occasionally, but it doesn’t matter because Tyson is a good storyteller. The show, directed by Spike Lee, is at times crude, at times emotional and mostly funny. His delivery is on target, although often laced with profanity.
New York Times (by Neil Genzlinger)
…among the odder spectacles Broadway has seen in a while. Mr. Tyson, 45, is doing little more than relating his well-publicized life story, and, under Spike Lee’s direction, he’s doing so with a clumsiness startling to see on a Broadway stage (and at a ticket price that tops out at $199). Yet that incongruous, almost childlike Tyson charm pokes through occasionally and makes you momentarily forget how ham-handed and manipulative the show is.
His energetic stage manner was impressive for a 46-year-old retired boxer. Wearing a dark suit and pink shirt, Tyson runs around the stage, often physically demonstrating his stories of fights and fracas, until he is literally dripping with sweat….There are many funny moments…
But while the show’s title is Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, for large parts of the show the stories Tyson told, while clearly accurate in his own mind, were likely to be disputed.
At times it felt as if Tyson’s sole purpose in taking the stage was to eviscerate those who he felt had wronged him.
His ex-wife Robin Givens, former promoter Don King and even Desiree Washington, the teenager Tyson was convicted of raping in 1992, are all targets of his contempt and painted as villains in tales they are likely to recall differently.
Simply put, the 46-year-old Tyson is a natural performer and storyteller, one who has embraced the opportunity to tell his story in two hours that don’t seem enough to fit in all the twists and turns of his life…boxing seems to be a very small part of undisputed truth.
At moments he was Pryor-esque. He really made me laugh. But(Undisputed Truth’ is more like an old vaudeville show of a gunslinger talking on stage. People used to pay to see that….It’s a show for his fans.