The critics have weighed in on Charlie Sheen‘s stage debut Saturday night, and the reviews are far from favorable.
Most blasted the actor for failing to prepare for the show and unfairly taunting the audience, which prompted walk-outs and angry shouts of “Loser!” and “You suck!”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney called the evening a “meltdown in progress,” pointing out that the actor’s constant reassurances that things would improve never materialized.
“What Sheen delivered was the overwritten, faux-Biblical preaching of a self-anointed Messiah, who views himself as the most truthful person in the universe,” he wrote. “Maybe, but not this universe.”
He added that Sheen’s lack of a game plan was what ultimately sunk the show. “Irrespective of the vague information supplied about the show in advance, it seems dishonest to promise a night of soul-baring and deliver a lot of rehashed Web fodder,” he said.
Steve Johnson at The Chicago Tribune summed up the evening as a “messy disaster.”
“To the sold-out 4,700-seat, theater Sheen served amateurish video, undeveloped storytelling and much more of his trademark self-aggrandizement: “warlock” and “winning” and other empty buzzwords,” he said.
The LA Times‘ Charles McNulty had no sympathy for Sheen, either.
“He didn’t bring the goods, and no amount of pandering to the spectators with his you-and-me against-the-trolls malarkey could convince them otherwise,” he wrote.
He said the atmosphere of the show “at times approached that of a professional wrestling match,” and noted that while Sheen wasn’t bi-winning in any sense, he did seem split between two tactics: “Sheen was torn between offense and defense. He taunted the hecklers that he already had their dough. But then he pleaded for softer treatment, reminding them that they gave their “hard-earned money without knowing what this show was all about.”
But Hadley Freeman at The Guardian seemed to pity Sheen more than anything else, painting the former TV star as a “man bemused.”
“It was a classic misunderstanding: he thought they loved him for his fearless honesty; they did, but only in regards to his intake of crack and porn,” she wrote, noting that Sheen only agreed to talk about crack out of desperation.
She described his apparent confusion at the crowd’s angry response, saying, “Here was an audience that had always encouraged him to be the onscreen bad boy, but liked him a lot less when he revealed the reality of what being a bad boy for several decades meant.”