No Appreciation | Letters | Chicago Reader

No Appreciation 

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To the editors:

Albert Williams's review of Blood Brothers [October 7] is not credible. His misstatement of a major plot component (Mrs. Johnstone does not, in fact, sell her child!) gives rise to question whether Williams either is reviewing a play he did not view or was so inattentive that his observations cannot be taken seriously.

Williams's review of the performances is similarly out of line. What is the relevance of David Cassidy's book to the quality of Cassidy's performance? Or is reviewer Williams merely attempting to feign worldliness by revealing that he is aware of the book? How can Williams credibly comment that Petula Clark's range of emotions runs only from A to A-minus when, at each performance, she capably migrates from carefree to hopeless to content to distraught to mournful? Perhaps Williams's seats were too far from the stage to note that Clark becomes so wrapped up in the final scene that she is still sobbing when the lights come on. And perhaps Williams did not notice that the audience jumps--not rises--to its feet in response.

The clearest indication of Williams's difficulty with Blood Brothers is that he says the script itself should "qualify for the Les Miz (sic) sweepstakes." That Williams would place this play in the same category as the most popular musical of the past ten years would seem to lend support to the notion that it is Williams, not the play, that is out of sync with what is good--and wanted by the public--in musical theater.

I saw the original production of Blood Brothers in London about ten years ago. There is no question but that the current production with Cassidy and Clark is superior in every way.

Steven I. Givot

Barrington Hills

Albert Williams replies:

Mrs. Johnstone bargains her baby away by swearing on the Bible, sealing a pact whose unholiness is made much of; 50 pounds also changes hands. That is selling in my book.

What is wanted by some of the public is not necessarily what is good.


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