Monday, October 27, 2008

Thoughts about reviews

What makes a review a review?

I have very definite ideas about the topic, but they're not always in harmony with what gets used as common parlance. For example, I would argue that there is not a single blog entry in "Front Row at Lansing's Theaters" that qualifies as a review. I talk about shows and things that capture my interest, but I'm not reviewing any of them.

Likewise, I would argue that what gets published in the Lansing State Journal is a review, but not a critique. I would make the case that some of the blog entries that Don and I wrote earlier this year about Doubt qualify as critiques.

However, there are textbook definitions and then there are reader perceptions. I find more often than not when I talk to people that they interpret my blog entries to be reviews--even though I don't bring the same level of rigor to most blog entries that I do to a review.

Is it a losing battle? Do most readers make distinctions between theater talk, theater reviews, and theater critiques? Or is that something that is done only in the trade?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My first reaction is that it doesn't matter what people think - only what you wish to convey - but then why write it? For me, however, the lines often get blurred between a review and a critique and I would much rather read what I think you do well - start a conversation with the reader in terms of what the show said to you and how it is portrayed. How it relates to you in life as it were. I see your blog as a part of a larger discussion of theater in general. While you often will write about things that you enjoyed or maybe thought could have been done different - the purpose doesn't seem to be to critizue or review, but rather to engage your reader on the topic at hand. The result for me is that I will often read your blog and seldom read the "reviews/critiques" that you find in various publications. I'd rather be a part of the discussion.