Yes, they might be different from others you have read. Good. They are supposed to be. After four decades as an English teacher and three decades as a director and drama teacher, I’d think it would be sort of impossible for my style and perspective not to shine through. So these reviews, at times, might examine aspects of the play that some would not, and that’s fine. Read lots of reviews. It’s important to get a balanced perspective anyway.
By the way, one thing you won’t likely see here is a ton of dramaturgy. Unless it is really relevant, I think that is more important to the people putting on the play than to those watching it (which is why your Playbills only contain articles about a play’s dramaturgy on rare occasions…and why some of you are looking up what it means right now). Now you will likely see some structural discussion of the play, but rarely the historical analysis that dramaturgs deal in. It usually just isn’t for reviews.
At the start of each review, you will see quite clearly one of our traffic light icons.
If it is green, it’s safe to assume we are highly recommending the show.
If red, well, for some reason we are not recommending it…which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see it. I’ve laughed a ton at plays that really were not that good. (Still, it is most likely not a good play. Read the review.)
It’s the yellow light I wish to speak about here. Consider it sort of the review equivalent of what you’d say to the cop about a real-life yellow light that you just buzzed through at breakneck speed: “Let me explain, officer!”
As the cartoon icons on the home page suggest, yellow doesn’t bear the notion of “this is good but not great” or “this is only OK” or, really, anything specific. It might suggest that a play can’t be unequivocally recommended due to some flaw(s), but it doesn’t have to. It might suggest that the reviewer saw a show that used a weaker understudy for a main character or that a player was very ill but went on anyway, so there is no way to tell what the actual show would be like when you see it but, hey, it could be wonderful. It might suggest that…well, it might suggest just about anything, so I’m not going to attempt to list possibilities.
We will always put the reason for the yellow star right next to it, like this:
Reviewer saw understudy for lead role.
You’ll know then that this was a major consideration, though not necessarily the only one, for the lack of an all-out recommendation. Again, read the review.
Well, I guess that about does it. I have a bit more to do to get this ready for its opening, so I’ll sign off now.