UNEASY STAGES: A Chronicle of the New York Theater, 1963-1973 by John Simon
Kirkus Star

UNEASY STAGES: A Chronicle of the New York Theater, 1963-1973

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Here's the Judgment on the last thirteen years of John Simon's work: simply marvelous reviewing. Oh, bitchy all right--bitchy about all kinds of picky things like bad translations, sloppy diction, unsightly bosoms. Given to overkill, too. But there's a surprise in store. Contrary to prejudicial rumor, Simon also gives good, even generous reviews. His taste is eclectic as well as dis. criminating: high marks went to Coco, Godspell and Your Own Thing as well as The Boys in the Band and That Championship Season. Betes noires: just about everything Albee, Miller, Osborne or Tennessee Williams have done lately, pseudo-absurdist spin-offs, inverted racist polemics, '30s social drama, and certain ""faggoty"" plays that nonetheless keep their private parts hidden in the closet. He's hard on repertory and shoddy revivals, but between the lines of these reviews you will find much auspicious criticism of classical drama. When he's really vicious, it's in a cause, viz. the debunking of Futz, Dionysus in '69, Che!. So put aside those charitable scruples and enjoy these outrageous critical cavils and fulminations which also, as a secondary justification, provide a short history of recent theater. It is just that controversial nastiness--even more than Simon's very real perceptiveness--that has attracted the readership who love to hate him and established his reputation as an opinion-maker. Theater could have no greater partisan than John Simon who, week after week, makes his audience sit up and take notice.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1975
Publisher: Random House