What do we think, kids? Is The Pain and the Itch a good play? Does Bruce Norris’s play accurately diagnose and assault shallow liberals? Or does it cater to shallow liberals who want to make fun of other liberals? Stupid liberals!
Our top New York liberal theatre critics are divided! Who can we trust?
- Hilton Als in The New Yorker
- The Pain and the Itch “is one of the most satisfying theatrical events available today.”
- John Heilpern in the New York Observer
- Heilpern calls Reg Rogers’s acting “brilliantly underplayed.” Underplayed? Reg Rogers?
- Michael Feingold in The Village Voice
- The Pain and the Itch is “a sort of my-liberalism-is-smarter-than-your-liberalism joke for reactionaries….”
- Martin Denton at nytheatre.com
- The moral of the story? “Rich, privileged white guys … are terrible; [and] not-as-rich, not-as-privileged white guys … are just as terrible.”
I think Bruce Norris is a very skilled writer, but his rave reviews aren’t enough to convince me to let my guard down. Because remember audience members, it doesn’t matter if a play is good or bad. What matters is how it will reflect on you. Theatre: the last pre-ironic artform!