Local Papers Don’t Do Justice To Theatre Criticism

Ken AshfordTheatreLeave a Comment

Okay, that's twice now in about one week — here and here.  Iin both of these theater reviews — from local papers — the phrase "does justice" appears in the headline (or sub-headline).

As in:

Cast does justice to long-running Broadway show


Triad Stage's Oleanna does justice to Mamet's vision

Does justice? I don't know what that phrase means.  Is theater-going a trial now?

It's one of those flat, dishwatery phrases that bad newspaper editors use when they can't think of anything better.  (I actually don't fault the reviewers here — they don't necessarily choose their headline titles).  Seriously, it's high school newspaper style.

It really means nothing more than "So-and-so put on a play that is like the original version".  Well, yes, Einstein.  That's usually the case.  After all, they're using the same script and all.

That phrase comes off as a backhanded insult, i.e., "Well, at least they didn't fuck up Moliere by wearing tu-tus and sporting afros."  But if you look at the reviews above, they are positive, so why can't the headline contain something a little less namby-pamby?