The Playgoer: Cote vs The Ish

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Cote vs The Ish

by Dr. Cashmere
I'm late getting to this, but I wanted to flag the wide range of critical responses to SECRETS OF THE TRADE by Jonathan Tolins at Primary Stages.

In the 'pro' camp you've got David Cote and Backstage calling the play things like, "rock-the-rafters funny" and "bracingly touching" and a "high mark" in the new season.

Charles Isherwood, meanwhile, dismisses the piece as a collision of cliches and Sam Thielman at Variety suggests that it's hard " to understand how this production survives its extraordinarily low stakes and thematic shallowness."

It's not the most polarized critical response we've ever seen. But it's a pretty puzzling set of notices.

What to make of the reaction? Is it tied to the subject matter? A couple of darker moments? Skewed expectations?

Anyone have any insights?

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