Mike Tyson's Broadway Reviews Are 'Undisputed': Not Quite A Knockout

Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson announces "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" a one man show on Broadway Monday June 18, 2012
Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson announces "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" a one man show on Broadway Monday June 18, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision)

There's been a tremendous amount of buzz lately regarding Mike Tyson’s stint on Broadway. His one-man show, co-written by his wife Kiki and directed by Spike Lee, opened on Thursday at the Longacre Theater. So far, reviewers seem less than thrilled by the performance, but hopeful that Tyson has turned his life around.

Tyson, an actor by no accounts, unveils his life story to his audience. Beginning with his troubled childhood in Brooklyn, he traces his life through his most memorable moments -- cue his distressing marriage to Robin Givens, his stringent denial that he raped an 18-year old beauty queen, and his infamous street fight with boxer Mitch Green. Tyson also describes the deaths of his mother, sister and young daughter, but what could be emotional high points are instead, according to the New York Times, “should-be-poignant moments.” Other major milestones in Tyson’s life, such as winning the WBC heavyweight championship and making history at a mere 20 years old, are left out entirely. The New York Daily News spins this haphazard structure in a good way, as an accurate mirror of Tyson’s life: “entertaining, fascinating and messy.

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"The mostly aimed at Mr. Tyson’s fans, alluding to rather than detailing the signature events in his life in a way calculated to draw whoops of support from the audience (which on Tuesday night obliged enthusiastically). But it’s a lazily structured biographical tour even for that audience."

"Save for his cameo in "The Hangover," Tyson is not an actor. He tends to race through lines, mumbles and tacks the word “Man” at the beginning of nearly every sentence for emphasis."

"It's been seven years since Tyson's last fight, and he opens by saying, "For those of you who don't know me, I'm the guy who used to knock out." On the stage, he shows that he's still capable of delivering a knockout. Only now, he doesn't need to throw a punch."

"Part of the show’s inherent problem is that Tyson’s travails have been so well-documented that there is little the audience has not already heard. Other, of course, than Tyson’s detailed versions of the stories, which in many instances is an exercise in self-justification bordering on revisionism."

"Maybe because “Undisputed Truth” is penned by Tyson’s current (third) wife, Kiki, what we’ve got here is a show about redemption, delivered in the contrite tones of a former bad boy turned family man and vegan."

"There are more missed punches than knockout blows in this self-serving if weirdly fascinating one-man theatrical tell-all."

"Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" runs through Aug. 12 at the Longacre Theater.