Ben Brantley didn't like Othello either

| 13 Comments
Ever see a play or musical that you particularly disliked and thought you were in an "Emperor's New Clothes" situation? E.g. some felt that the Coast of Utopia was this sort of thing--everyone but you believes that it's genius, that it's a fantastic piece of work. I didn't feel that way about Utopia (although in pieces here and there I did), but I found it pretty gratifying that Ben Brantley actually did agree with me about another recent production:
But by that time, you’ve started thinking that Mr. Sellars has written his own play about love and war, and that Shakespeare’s words mostly just get in the way.
Have you ever sat through an "Emperor's New Clothes" situation in theater? Did only you find it to be you who thought so, or did the general public or critics eventually agree with you, like Brantley did with me on this Othello?

13 Comments

I actually was thrilled when I saw your abridgement of Next to Normal, because when I saw it, I thought it was fairly poorly written (particularly on Brian Yorkey's end) and in no way the second coming that some of the message boards have portrayed it as. So when I saw someone else acknowledge all of its flaws, I knew I wasn't crazy, which was good because I was actually losing sleep over it, wondering if there was something wrong with me that I didn't get the hype.
Also, did you see John Simon's review? http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=aI0ndKhbyRpE

Talk about a PAN! He even insults the physical characteristics of some of the cast.
"none of whom has the faintest inkling of how to speak verse and most of whom do not even manage anything passing for stage English. "

Wow. Yeah, that's pretty accurate. Zero stars is a heck of a pan, even from him.

I actually rather liked the first half of Next to Normal. But it seemed like there was no payoff in act two. It's amazing how much the quality of the ending of a show really informs the overall...
I really didn't like Sherie Renee's Scott show "Everyday Rapture", and everyone else loved it! I thought the singing was great but almost ruined by her preachy, boring life story.
Grey Gardens. I thought it was a total snoozefest and Christine Ebersole did a good impression but did not deserve all the praise.

August: Osage County. Unexciting family drama stuffed with every family drama cliche ever invented, not even packaged in an original way.
I'd say that God Of Carnage definitely applies, in my case. I admired the performances, but there's just something about Yasmina Reza's writing that I really, really don't like... Everything about that play just seemed so forced and unnatural to me.
Rock and Roll, and Movin' out. Yup.
Mine is Aida. Everyone I know creams their pants over it, but I think it's just an overly-amplified wannabe soap opera with maybe two good songs.
Although it's not EXACTLY the same situation for me, I am of the firm opinion that The Phantom of the Opera needs to die (i.e. finally leave Broadway). I really do love the music and everything--but you can listen to that on CD at home. When I saw Phantom in NYC about 2 years ago, I was actually really disappointed. I mean, there's so much hype about it--even about the "crashing chandelier" alone, which I was so let down to discover that it very slowly and neatly glides down to the stage and makes a nice, soft landing--hardly my idea of spectacle. And I was very disappointed in Christine, too; I'm not sure whether it was the actress (it was the girl who went on the few times a week that Jennifer Hope Wills was off) or whether I just didn't like the way the character was written, but I suspect it was the former, as she did have a moment during "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" where she really seemed to get into it, and I thought "Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!" The one redeeming aspect of the show for me (aside from the music), was Howard McGillin's performance; he really put 125% into his portrayal of the title character, which really bowled me over (especially when I thought about how many thousands of times he's performed that role!), so I couldn't consider the experience a TOTAL waste of time/money. But still. . . . . I guess I just don't see why that show has been running all these years, and continues to go strong today.

--Melanie
I thought the latest revival of Gypsy was a stunning production, but unlike the rest of the world, this was *in spite* of Peppi LePew's performance. That woman's career is an Emperor's New Clothes situation for me...
I just saw Billy Elliot, and I hate the singing, they sing like a sesame street kid on crack. If it was like Burn the floor with dancing all the time I might have enjoyed it.
I don't think anybody liked that Othello.
I realize I'm a bit late on this post, but I very much felt that was about Spring Awakening... (you may recall me asking for your honest opinion, Gil, after reading your abridgment and hoping you were of the same mindset, haha).

Just thought I'd throw my two cents in.

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