Approval Creep (or why I won’t say everything is amazing)

This week I am going to talk about a rather insidious process I am calling ‘approval creep.’ We’ve touched on something like this before, in a discussion about star ratings, but this part of the conversation is a more constructive (rather than deconstructive) look at the way our particular brand of criticism works (and doesn’t … Continue reading Approval Creep (or why I won’t say everything is amazing)

Freedom to Engage

I’ve already written about the ecosystem that has been making (theatre) writers into bloggers. A lot of people complain about this transition, and fall into the timeless trap of glorifying the place criticism has historically occupied. I believe the transition to online criticism actually marks an important opportunity for us all to redefine and re-democratize … Continue reading Freedom to Engage

Idealism in the Theatre (Or: The Role of the Critic)

Critics are positioned in a middle ground between the artist and audience, each of whom perceive the critic (in their ideal form) to be in uniquely service to their interests. From the perspective of theatre creators, the critic is part of their publicity machine. We write reviews principally for the purpose of steering audiences towards … Continue reading Idealism in the Theatre (Or: The Role of the Critic)

Zero Stars for Star-Ratings

  Zero Stars for Star-Ratings by Wes Babcock         How many stars? Four stars? Two stars? Five stars? Three stars? Zero Stars. Okay, you can stop reading now.         This is the only time I will participate in the star rating system, because it’s clear that the star rating system is fundamentally reductive, and serves … Continue reading Zero Stars for Star-Ratings

The New Criticism (We are all Bloggers)

What’s a theatre critic good for anyway? Theatre Critics, and art critics more generally, are going extinct; at least in the form we have known them for a few centuries. An article by Stephen Hunt ran in the Globe back in October, discussing the midwinter ecosystem of cultural criticism in this country: Postmedia has pared … Continue reading The New Criticism (We are all Bloggers)

“7 Minutes in Heaven”: A Highly Intimate Performance for One

  Madeleine Boyes-Manseau has created a uniquely extravagant seven-minutes closet/boudoir for this production that, true to its billing, is indeed a highly intimate performance for one. In 7 Minutes in Heaven, Boyes-Manseau explores this theme of intimacy, particularly in its relation to the objectification of our bodies and to desire.   Rather than tell you the … Continue reading “7 Minutes in Heaven”: A Highly Intimate Performance for One

Will Somers Plays to His Strengths in “Pierre Brault”

There is a back-story to this piece that informs its content without requiring knowledge of its particulars. I’ll include this back-story later on, because, I’m sure Will Somers is sick to death of explaining this context, and moreover, it isn’t the point. The point is that in this show, Will Somers reveals something truly resonant … Continue reading Will Somers Plays to His Strengths in “Pierre Brault”

‘Three’: Shows Skill and Sophistication of Improv Performers

Three presents an hilarious balance of improvised and scripted comedy that profits from the skill with which it straddles this boundary. Plants, a new company comprised of improv veterans, has brought its members' shared experience to bear on a loosely scripted piece that in its structure reminds me of a short story sequence, where each … Continue reading ‘Three’: Shows Skill and Sophistication of Improv Performers