23 May 2008

Destructive criticism

'Here are some of the nastiest ever reviews:
Laurence Olivier as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice (TV, 1974), reviewed by Clive James in The Observer:
'...any fan of Walt Disney comics could turn on the TV and see that he had modelled his appearance on Scrooge McDuck'
Peter O'Toole as Macbeth at the Old Vic Theatre, London (1980), reviewed by Robert Cushman in The Observer:
'His performance suggests that he is taking some kind of personal revenge on the play'
A revivial of the musical Godspell at the Old Vic Theatre, London (1981), reviewed by Michael Billington in The Guardian:
'Godspell is back in London... for those of you who missed it the first time, this is your golden opportunity: you can miss it again'
Jackie Mason's first Broadway show, a play entitled A Teaspoon Every Four Hours, New York (1969), reviewed by Clive Barnes in The New York Times:
'I realised it was not a particularly distinguished play when at the intermission I found myself rushing up the aisle for a cigarette outside.  It was not until I got there that I remembered that I don't smoke'  (The play's opening night was also its last)'
- James Inverne, Inverne's Stage & Screen Trivia, 2004

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