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Comment Archives: Stories: Theater

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

Not judging the past, judging a current, ongoing production that still expects us to laugh at things that aren't funny. The social context and the decision to produce this material is every bit as important-- and perhaps more relevant-- than the production values. But a fair criticism of the criticism. As it happens, though, I disagree.

Posted by Chris Davis on 05/29/2015 at 10:09 AM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

The production gets fairly strong marks in this review, but only after you've waded through all the concerns about the play's now-socially outdated worldview. And that's after a headline that gives the casual reader the impression this production is "a mess" (which the review doesn't actually say). The review of the production should lead, the rest is background for those who care. If we're going to judge the past by our current social mores (or one reviewer's personal preferences), then let the books, films and plays of the past burn!

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Steve Scheer on 05/29/2015 at 8:26 AM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

I must agree with my dear friend Brunetto. As Tennessee Williams said, if it doesn't give me a stiffie, what good is theatre? I may have lost something in the translation.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by ern on 05/25/2015 at 1:40 PM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

Hell hath fury like an angry parent or boyfriend/girlfriend of a cast/crew member.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by mayfield on 05/25/2015 at 11:45 AM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

"the Theatre", "the Theatre", "the Theatre", yada, yada, yada
That's what I took away from the first post.

But in all honesty, when I saw this was a review of Kiss Me Kate, I also thought it was a production at Theatre Memphis.

I've seen the movie with Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson. I sat through many of their movies with my mom, but the only thing I ever remember is Howard Keel.

Posted by Brunetto Latini on 05/25/2015 at 9:04 AM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

Exactly my point: being "right" isn't the issue.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by TScott on 05/24/2015 at 8:47 PM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

being right isn't important. User experience will varry. Aims: contextualize and assess. Same three questions asked of every show: What is the play supposed to do? Does it do it? Does it do it in an interesting way? Never walked into a theater with my mind made up, and tend to encourage readers to be open to experience outside the comfort zone. What is wrong here is the title, "Brush Up Your Shakespeare." I've been singing it wrong my whole life, apparently.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris Davis on 05/24/2015 at 6:33 PM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

It is also worth noting that a reviewer gives his or her perspective. If a reader disagrees with the reviewer, that does not make the reviewer wrong (not counting misstatements of facts, dates, names, etc.). Theatregoer1 would do well to understand and appreciate the distinction.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by TScott on 05/24/2015 at 4:53 PM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

Also, Theatregoer1, thanks. It's been a long time since I've pissed somebody off that badly with a mostly positive review. Good to know I've still got it!

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris Davis on 05/24/2015 at 3:22 PM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

I can be. But not about this. It's a very nicely assembled show. No chemistry between leads, and a dated, problematic script. I did have feelings about this show walking in. I thought I loved it. And I still loved the music. The joyful spanking of women and teaching them their place, less so.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris Davis on 05/24/2015 at 3:06 PM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

I'm pretty sure Chris can be wrong.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by TScott on 05/24/2015 at 1:36 PM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

To be fair, I've never really liked this play. However constructed. I've seen it done more times than I can count, so perhaps it's a bit much to ask the players to find something to entice my experienced palette. I'll own that. My main criticism though, is that one of the primary functions of theater, is to draw attention to the social context of the subject matter portrayed. As such, theater can be, like any of the arts, a match that ignites change. It should move the viewer. Pointing out the presence, or lack thereof, of that visceral emotive subtext, is part and parcel of the reviewers task. I have to agree with Chris and Bruce on that fact. Now, as to the ACCURACY of the reviewer's complaint is this regard... Well... I think it best for the reader to see the thing, and report back to us whether or not they concur with this assessment. There is always the possibility, however remote, that Chris could be wrong. I know. The idea shocks me too...

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by OakTree on 05/24/2015 at 11:47 AM

Re: “"Livin' Fat" Opens at TheatreWorks

"..Do you think, in addition to still being funny, that it still resonates? Did it travel through time well?.."

"..It's his first summer home after graduation and the only job he is able to get is as the janitor in a bank..."……

Yeah. Remarkably well, I'd say.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by OakTree on 05/24/2015 at 11:06 AM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

Hmmm; an anonymous person bashes a reviewer and paints the reviewer as a hater and a troll . . . . .

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by TScott on 05/24/2015 at 10:17 AM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

After reading this comment, I went back and reread Chris' review. Davis "cited" many things he liked, several things he didn't, and put the performance (and the play itself) in historical context, quite nicely. Your comment, on the other hand, reads like it was written by an angry parent.

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by BruceVanWyngarden on 05/24/2015 at 10:11 AM

Re: “"Kiss Me Kate" is a Pretty Mess

It is usually customary for reviewers to have a point of view on a subject. Sighting things they liked and things disliked based on examples in the performance. In this review (and I use that term loosely) I find it nothing more than a petty attempt to knock the hard work and excellence of both a fabulous production and its young performers by someone who clearly hates the Theatre and came with the pre-decided notion to produce a bad review.

I find you lack of judgment (and again, I use the term loosely) deplorable and insulting. This review is like a fifteen-year-old boy sitting at his computer trolling YouTube videos. I would suggest you stick to that in the future, as you clearly have no point of view to expound or opinion worth listening to. You are a sad excuse for a journalist and I whole heartily disagree with you and pity your lack of tastes.

To those of reading this who enjoy the Theatre… please go and support this excellent production and its amazing cast. Judge for yourselves and don’t be fooled by haters and trolls.

3 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Theatergoer1 on 05/24/2015 at 2:21 AM

Re: “Orpheum Theatre Announces Nominees for the 2015 High School Musical Theater Awards

Chris, are you going to tell us the winners in a future post?

Posted by williamthewebb on 05/13/2015 at 12:28 PM

Re: “Memphis Loses a Unique Artistic Voice: RIP Randy Wayne Youngblood

Attorney/Joker: Part Sign opens Friday night, May 1, at TheatreWorks at 8:00 PM! Y'all come!

0 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by williamthewebb on 04/30/2015 at 12:35 PM

Re: “Memphis College Of Art Students Explore Creativity and Nonviolence with Elaine Blanchard

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 25th

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Elaine on 04/24/2015 at 4:07 PM

Re: “Nina Raine's “Tribes” Maps the Boundary Between Listening and Hearing

Oh, I see... The secont time it pops up. Duh.

Posted by Chris Davis on 04/22/2015 at 11:16 AM

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