Saturday, December 15, 2012

Re-Inspecting Carol

I saw Inspecting Carol at the Seattle Rep again last night. As noted in my previous review, I enjoyed the show when I saw it a couple of weeks ago, but my Sweetie, the official scorer, had to be out of town that day. So we went to see it together and I enjoyed it again.

I'm prompted to write a second time because the Rep is doing some interesting marketing around their shows these days. For one, they do follow-up emails with patrons asking them to spread the word. One of the ways they try to get you to do it is by offering discounts to future shows for your friends. So, as a friend/reader of Weisenheimer, just follow this link for a $10 discount on tickets to Inspecting Carol, which runs through Dec. 23. You're welcome!

The cast of Seattle Rep's Inspecting Carol.
Photo by Chris Bennion.
Along with this offer, the Rep encourages patrons to post their own reviews of Inspecting Carol on its blog. One of my favorite curmudgeons, H.L. Mencken, once wrote that "democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." In this case, the Rep is getting it good and hard in this self-inflicted review section. I count 24 reviews on the page as of this afternoon, with the vote running 20 against, just four in favor (and Weisenheimer is one of the four.) Four commenters claim to have left at intermission, and three threaten to cancel their subscriptions or never see another show at the Rep if this sort of rubbish keeps up.

Now, Weisenheimer has been teased by theater-type friends for being a soft touch on reviews, and I'll fess up: I don't consider myself a critic; mostly I (and my sweetie) write because we're writers, because we like theater, and we're boosters for a lot of good work that's happening in the city. I enjoy pointing out what we liked about things. The blog is also our own little scrapbook of theater adventures. We're glad you like it, too!

That said, I think that, as with the comments sections of news sites (which are best avoided, lest one risk losing all hope for humanity), the haters are more likely to take time to write than the praisers. Last night's performance got a lot of laughs and a nice round of applause at the end. We didn't see any sort of exodus at intermission. On the other hand, the balcony was pretty much empty for a Friday night show, so it's safe to say that Inspecting Carol isn't getting the sort of buzz and holiday traffic they might have hoped for. (For the record Misha Berson in The Times rated Carol pretty well, Seattle's Child liked it (except for dirty words!), Crosscut not so much, nor Seattle Met.)

The I'll-never-go-again response is also an interesting one. Weisenheimer admits to a gut reaction along those lines on occasion. We've attended the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the last eight years. In that time, we've probably seen about 70 plays, and exactly two of them have been stinkers. They were legendary, horrible, painful-to-watch, dammit-why-did-I-get-seats-in-the-middle-of-the-row-so-there's-no-escape bombs, but there have been only two of them. As my Sweetie wrote about Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella at OSF this year: "I'm willing to have a clunker now and again (not too often...these tickets are expensive) if it means we also get plays like Party People and The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler and Equivocation." The theater that takes no chances just stages Guys and Dolls every year.

So. Inspecting Carol is not high art, but it is a lot of fun. Now, with the Friends of Weisenheimer $10 discount you can get in for as little as $15. Don't leave at intermission.

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