Theatre company sorry after misquoting one-star review in The Stage to claim play 'spectacular'

A fringe theatre company has apologised after misquoting a review of one of its plays in promotional material to make it appear more favourable.

Craft Theatre quoted Andrew Haydon’s review of A Nazi Comparison for theatre news website The Stage as saying: “Spectacular… intellectual rigour… wacky physical humour.”

In fact the original copy reads: “This spectacular lack of intellectual rigour is however dwarfed by the wild unevenness of the production itself, which veers between wacky physical humour to unwatchable overheated melodrama.”

Haydon gave the play one star out of five and declared it “unwatchable”.

The misquote appeared in an email newsletter and was posted on Craft Theatre’s Facebook page (pictured below), but has since been removed.

Artistic director of Craft Theatre, Rocky Rodriguez Jr, said: “I personally apologise to the misrepresented.

“To be honest, what happened was that a company member with a bit too much access to Craft’s internal mechanisms let their emotions dictate their choice here. I have taken down the post.

“We’re a developing company – members put a lot of work into Craft. I hope this does not turn people away from coming to see the piece.”

Haydon told Press Gazette: “They have rather crossed the line by changing the meaning.

“However they seem to be a very small fringe company who are probably still learning about making theatre and about how to do pull-quotes”

A Nazi Comparison tells the story of Clare, who after reading a play by Hitler’s favourite playwright notices similarities between Nazi ideology and western imperialism and becomes involved in progressive activism.

It is at the Waterloo East theatre until 29 October.

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4 thoughts on “Theatre company sorry after misquoting one-star review in The Stage to claim play 'spectacular'”

  1. FOUND the actual quote:

    “Pulling quotes worked like this: If Brooks Atkinson, The Times drama critic, wrote, “For the fourth time this season, the Theatre Guild has wasted a superb production on a dull and empty play,” you pulled out the two good words and printed at the top of your ad, “SUPERB PRODUCTION”.”

    Published in 1980, telling a story of 50 years earlier…

  2. QUOTE (the bit about extracting one word from reviews is earlier in the same chapter):

    …The show opened in Boston to fair notices – not nearly as good as those Boston had given some of our other flops and certainly not notices you could get last-minute financing on. So we still didn’t know how the show was to open in New York till Jack tossed us the news casually with our mail the next morning: Terry and Lawrence had sold the Guild Theatre and building to a radio network. Away We Go would open on March 31, as scheduled.

    Joe phoned from Boston with instructions about the opening-night press release to be sent to 10,000 Guild subscribers. He said that the whole second act had been thrown out, and that the company was working round the clock on a new second act. With a new second act, Joe felt, it would really be a great show.

    For the next few days, Lois and I were busy addressing envelopes and grinding out 10,000 copies of the press release on the mimeograph machine to tell the world about the new American Folk Opera, Away We Go. We had about 8,000 mimeographed when Joe came back from Boston and broke the news to us that we’d have to throw them all away and start over. There had been a title change.

    Nobody, it seemed, liked the title Away We Go. The composer had wanted to change it to Yessirree, but Joe was thankful to report he’d been talked out of it. The title finally agreed upon – thanks largely to Armina Marshall, Lawrence’s wife, who came from out that way – was Oklahoma.

    It sounds fine to you; you’re used to it. But do me a favor and imagine you’re working in a theatre and somebody tells you your new musical is to be called “New Jersey.” Or “Maine.” To us, “Oklahoma” remained the name of a state, even after we’d mimeographed 10,000 new releases and despite the fact that “Oklahoma” appeared three times on each one.

    We had folded several hundred of them when the call came from Boston. Joe picked up the phone and we heard him say, “Yes, Terry,” and “All right, dear,” and then he hung up. And then he looked at us, in the dazed way people who worked at the Guild frequently looked at each other.

    “They want,” he said in a faraway voice, “an exclamation point after ‘Oklahoma.’”

    Which is how it happened that, far into the night, Lois and I, bundled in our winter coats, sat in the outer office putting 30,000 exclamation points on 10,000 press releases, while Joe, in the inner office, bundled in his overcoat, phoned all over town hunting down and waking up various printing firms and sign painters. We were bundled in our coats because the heat had been turned off by an economy-minded management now happily engaged in spending several thousand dollars to alter houseboards, playbills, ads, three-sheet posters and souvenir booklets, to put an exclamation point after “Oklahoma.”

    We were not sold out for the opening, New York subscribers having dwindled to a handful after sixteen flops. Nor did we get any help from the weather. When I woke on the morning of March 31, with a cold, it was snowing.

    By six that evening, the snow had turned to sleet and my cold included a cough. As I left the office to go home and climb into a drafty evening dress, Joe took pity on me.

    “I don’t need you there, dear,” he said. “Don’t come unless you feel like it.”

    I felt guilty about not going as I ate a quick dinner in a cafeteria. But by the time I’d fought my way home through the sleet guilt had given way to self-preservation. I undressed and crawled thankfully into bed. In bed, I reached for the wet newspaper I’d brought home and opened it to the theatre page. Our big opening-night ad leaped out at me: “Oklahoma!”

    Slowly, surely, with that foggy bewilderment you were bound to feel sooner or later if you worked at the Theatre Guild long enough, I saw that Terry and Lawrence were right. About the exclamation point.

    I did not allow myself to speculate on the insane possibility that they might also be right about such brainwaves as a clean corn-fed musical with no legs and no jokes and with a score by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, who’d never collaborated before; a full-blown ballet by an unknown young choreographer named Agnes de Mille; and a cast of unknowns, including Celeste Holm, the ingénue from Papa Is All.

    I switched off the lamp, thinking how typical it was of both this epic and the Guild that the notices would appear on the morning of April Fool’s Day. I coughed, pulled up the blankets and, as I drifted off to sleep, said a silent Good Luck to Alfred Drake, the juvenile from Yesterday’s Magic, who was at that moment strolling out onto the stage of the St. James Theatre, singing:

    “Oh, what a beautiful morning!”

    –Helene Hanff

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