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What critics never say...

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stagedoorguy
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What critics never say...#0
Posted: 11/4/03 at 4:52pm

Did you ever notice that critics never say, "Maybe it's not for me." Wouldn't you like to read that? I saw Wicked in preview and the crowds went crazy...."witch" was never mentioned in the NY Times Review. You'd think more than occasionally a critic would look around the theater and comment on the audience reaction.
Elliott
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RobbO
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re: What critics never say...#1
Posted: 11/4/03 at 4:55pm
but they are paid to give their opinion, not reflect media buzz or a few fans' opinions. hopefully a balanced review would note the fan reaction but still point out the positive aspects as well as flaws.
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fan reaction#2
Posted: 11/4/03 at 5:11pm
In my opinion, an appreciative audience really shouldn't be labelled as "fans". A "fan" would be someone who sees the show regularly, or sees every production of and loves it no matter what. Or a fan of a particular performer in the show, who thinks their idol can (pretty much) do no wrong. Biased opinions, in other words.

If the audience (which is not likely to be all fans) is appreciative and the show leaves the reviewer cold, s/he might mention that. Of course, that would call into doubt the ability of the critic to truly judge the show. That's a pretty good reason to not mention that the rest of the audience seemed to love it. fan reaction
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re: fan reaction#3
Posted: 11/4/03 at 5:20pm
i just don't think a critic's job is to reflect what others thought of the show, or see the relevance as to how if they did mention the audience's reaction it would throw their opinion into doubt. let's remember, a critic is just someone paid to give their (hopefully intelligent and expert) opinion on something. for me it does not carry much weight and i never read any reviews of anything before i see a show, movie, etc. i like to make up my own mind and not be influenced by anything - positive or negative.
XING
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re: re: fan reaction#4
Posted: 11/4/03 at 5:24pm
And not only that, but most critics' performances are papered with those that feel friendly towards a show.
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re: re: re: fan reaction#5
Posted: 11/4/03 at 5:31pm
exactly. perhaps the critic could note that "the people that the producers packed into the audiance tonight to jaundice my opinion gave the show x amount of standing ovations and applauded wildly everything from the house lights going to half to curtain falling. in fact several were still applauding wildly in the streets after the show for anyone who would stop. but i still have to say that this was one for the dogs. but only if you really hate dogs."
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re: re: re: re: fan reaction#6
Posted: 11/4/03 at 5:38pm
>>>>>>It is only fair to report that on the night I saw “Wicked” the spectators gave this fourteen-million-dollar piece of folderol a standing ovation, <<<<<<<

from the New Yorker... not all critics.
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re: re: fan reaction#7
Posted: 11/4/03 at 5:52pm
I disagree w/ RobbO, w/ respect. If a critic routinely praises or pans shows that everyone likes, that critic's opinion is called into question. After John Simon became known as a complete contrarian, few took him very seriously. I have always enjoyed reviews like those of the late Stewart Klein (miss him!) who used to say w/ barely restrained sarcasm, "I was clearly in the minority because...." And I think critics know the difference between people who are there as cheerleaders & true audience members & the difference between those who would cheer their favorite performer reading a recipe book & audience members who are truly enjoying themelves. Besides, people are not shy about opening their mouths at intermission & at the end & critics will hear that as well.
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re: re: re: fan reaction#8
Posted: 11/4/03 at 7:18pm
By doing so, a critic might have to admit he or she may be wrong. We can not have that, can we .
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re: re: re: re: fan reaction#9
Posted: 11/4/03 at 8:52pm
Opinions are opinions, Rox, and that's what critics give. Opinions aren't wrong. Except for yours, of course.
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re: re: re: re: re: fan reaction#10
Posted: 11/4/03 at 8:57pm
Many critiques will say take audience reactions into account. Perhaps in 'Wicked' it wasn't as relevant a contradiction to the review as some people would like.
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re: re: re: re: re: re: fan reaction#11
Posted: 11/4/03 at 9:15pm
I think Brantley's review was completely accurate. And the crowd WAS going wild when I saw it on Saturday (after the reviews came out). Even tho his review was called "There's Trouble in Emerald City," and believe me, there is, Brantley reported feeling completely blissed out by Chenoweth's performance. The major daily reviewer, the one everybody around here talks about having the power to kill with his very word, reported feeling BLISS while watching a performance. That's probably why tickets sold well the day after.

I also believe he meant it as a compliment when he said American Idol contestants could learn a thing or two from Idina. She did the requisite belting that people seem to require today without a single melisma, not one!

But he's right that the score is weak, he's especially right about the duet between Idina and Norblecch, and he's right that a couple of characters undergo major, unlikely personality changes every couple of seconds that strain credibility even in a make-believe land. (He didn't even mention, oh I can't even mention it without it being a spoiler, but he didn't even come close to addressing the worst most unforgiveable part).

So why is everybody overreacting to criticism, is it because in your heart of hearts you know the critics have a point but you prefer to overlook it?
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re: re: re: re: re: re: re: fan reaction#12
Posted: 11/4/03 at 9:25pm
"In my opinion, an appreciative audience really shouldn't be labelled as "fans". A "fan" would be someone who sees the show regularly, or sees every production of and loves it no matter what."

I would dare to say that Wicked had quite a few fans before it even opened. I think these fans might have a hard time accepting any criticism of the show.
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re: re: re: re: re: fan reaction#13
Posted: 11/4/03 at 9:28pm
I'm far,far from a notable NY critic...but I've reviewed a bunch shows in the past 2 years and I have had no problem saying "that's not my cup of tea" or "I don't see what the raves are all about" or " Call it fluff, but I liked it"..etc.

I have simple rules when I take my seat to cover a show. 1.Be open and fair judging the acting, singing, movement, sets, direction, story, costumes. Then decide which of these facets enhanced or weakened the show. That's it!

BTW, I sometimes will chat with people during intermission... Call it crazy, but occassionally I will ask them "if you were reviewing this show what would you say?" You'd be surprised how much they will tell you.

Does this affect my view? Not really, but it lends some color to how the public sees things differently. I don't write to impress othe critics, but to bring the feel of the show to the general audience, which is more important to me than the $64 phrases many critics wallow in. Which is likely why I'll never be a critics critic. Heaven forbid! I'm having too much fun for that.

www.pbentertainmentinc.com BWW regional writer "Philadelphia/South Jersey"
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re: re: re: re: re: re: re: fan reaction#14
Posted: 11/5/03 at 11:17am
Brantley is blissed out by EVERYTHING Kristen does.
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I agree that Brantley appears to have an unhealthy fixation with Kristin...I didn't like Wicked, myself, and I'd have to agree with most of the critics.
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"but they are paid to give their opinion, not reflect media buzz or a few fans' opinions"

And that's why I never care about what critics think. I'll listen to what they have to say, but I never decide on whether or not I'll see a show based on their opinions.

Considering that Kristen Chenoweth is similar to Bernadette Peters in many ways, is it any surprise that Brantley would love Kristen so much? lol
"It's the little things; the details, that distinguish the Barbra Streisands from the Rosalyn Kinds."~Gilmore Girls~
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I tend to listen to what critics say precisely because they approach things from a more interested perspective than 'I liked it' or 'well, people all applauded.' I WANT someone to write and think in depth about a piece, I can figure out what the visceral reception is by sitting in the theater but critics, thank god, at their best try and get beyond that and really pay attention to what's on the stage. And 'Wicked' IS the perfect example of a show that is hoping to provide a visceral pleasure but doesn't hold up to even the most basic analysis. It's ALL top-layer reactions and there's more to any piece of artwork than that. Not that having a good time should be dismissed but it's not the be-all-end-all of any theatrical experience.

After all, a musical has to be more than just a gathering of songs people like.
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IF Brantley is "blissed out" by EVERYTHING Kristen does....than the exact word to use whenever I see Kristen would be "grossed out"....
Updated On: 11/5/03 at 02:52 PM
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re: fan reaction#19
Posted: 11/5/03 at 3:03pm
Well, I can understand if people who don't go to the theater very often listen to what the critics say; but considering that I attend at least 2 or 3 Broadway (or local) shows a month, and have seen many of them more than once (giving me the opportunity to look at them in greater detail), I take what the critcs say with a grain of salt. I choose to attend shows based on my likings and expectations, and too bad if they didn't like something that I did.

I honestly don't think a critic's opinion is any more important than the average theatre fan's opinion. I've read many well-written reviews right here on ths message board. Some of them are good reviews, some bad, but usually well written. Who's to say that someone who posts here doesn't have what it takes to be a theatre critic. Anyone can be a respected critic as long as they have a cocky attitude, a thesaurus, and a high-profiled newspaper, magazine, ortelevison show to back them.
"It's the little things; the details, that distinguish the Barbra Streisands from the Rosalyn Kinds."~Gilmore Girls~
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re: re: fan reaction#20
Posted: 11/5/03 at 3:11pm
If the point is that you enjoy the experience based on your own experience why would a well-written review by someone on this board be of any more consequence?

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re: re: re: fan reaction#21
Posted: 11/5/03 at 7:09pm
You make an excellent point, so let me clarify.
I don't take ANY review to heart. Do I read them, yes; but I read them for the mere enjoyment of seeing if people agreed with me or not (in cases of shows I've already seen), or just to see what people thought about the shows I have not yet seen.

When I read the reviews on this message board (or any message board for that matter) I read them with the same feelings as if I were reading a professional critic's review. I never, after reading anyone's review, have the mindset that I will or will not enjoy a performance based on what somebody else thought. :)

I just think it's a shame that critics do have a lot of power as to the ticket sales of a show. It's like, well 4 out of 5 critics didn't like the show so people assume they won't like it either; but what if it just wasn't the style of those 4 people?
"It's the little things; the details, that distinguish the Barbra Streisands from the Rosalyn Kinds."~Gilmore Girls~