Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bad review for the reviewer

So this old man read my review of "Forever Plaid" done well at the Pickleville Playhouse near Bear Lake.
He was mad at me.
He told me he read the review and went to see the show based on my recommendation.
Now he wants his money back — from me.
And he's accusing me of taking bribes.
Never mind that he didn't go to see the show at the Pickleville Playhouse, the one where I clearly said, it was unusually enjoyable because the Pickleville players are so funny and so good at what they do.
Never mind that he chose to see the show in some little town in Canada where he hated it.
"I went with high expectations and left disappointed...To me, the show was boring. 
"Somebody needs to tell you that your view of quality production is very lacking...It appears you are paid by the group to give what they want you to say..."
I was truly taken aback.
I've been raked over the coals from time to time for my reviews but usually because I "attacked" somebody's daughter/son/wife/husband/friend when they couldn't hit the notes or act the part.
I kind of expect that and understand the reaction.
(I once did a review of a Lehi community production of "Fiddler on the Roof" and said Yentl was pretty harsh and difficult to like. I heard for weeks about how I'd publicly humiliated the actress and wasn't I ashamed of myself?)
Part of the job of a theater critic is to focus in on what's wrong so the people in charge can either fix the problem or at least understand why tickets aren't selling.
But in this case, I raved about the Pickleville show.
My husband and I really, really, liked it and it wasn't because "Forever Plaid" is typically my favorite show. When I've seen it other places, it was always just OK.
But this guy feels like I steered him wrong and robbed him of his time and money.
I tried responding with my typical "Thanks for reading and I'm sorry you disagree" email but that didn't satisfy him.
He shot back with an even more vitrolic denouncement.
"How can you say you and I did not see the same show? The songs were the same, presentation, everything is the same. I suggested you were paid to give a good write-up which is what you did... Somebody needs to tell you the facts of life which is what I am taking my time to do. It was your rating that convinced me to go, and waste my money. Are you going to compensate me that cost and my time? I doubt it. Ralph."
I thought about things I could and maybe ought to say but then instead I just hit "delete."
What is there more to say?

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