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So Trey Graham is permitted to write a “review” for the 90 Minute Shakespeare Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet (City Lights, 3/21) without ever having seen the show. (It appears that all he saw was a press release, which apparently went way over his head.) Graham then uses minor typos in the press release as a pretext for slamming the production. (Good thing he didn’t read Bill S.’s original manuscripts! They never would have seen the light of day.)
Despite his fear of typos, Graham cannot bear the thought of Shakespeare’s being edited (or updated)though apparently he doesn’t mind pontificating about shows he hasn’t even seen. Then, despite Graham’s sneer, the Washington City Paper still highlights the play as a pick of the week. Good thing consistency is not what the paper strives for.
Meanwhile, in a paper across town, a critic reviewing a full-length production of Henry V (which he presumably did see) comments that over three hours for the play is too long. Could it be that there is a respectable niche out there for edited canonical works? And that the 90 Minute Shakespeare Company is ably exploring that niche?
I humbly suggest that Graham (or perhaps another reviewer with enough time and energy to see a play before writing about it) venture to the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts to see the production before it closes. The night that I went, a much appreciative audience enjoyed a lively cast and a fast-moving show at a reasonable price. Given the state of theater these days, that should be recommendation enough.
Another suggestion is that the City Paper editors read reviews before publishing them, to make sure they make sense. Or perhaps check Graham’s ticket stubs to be sure he attended what he is writing about.