The drama dept. responds

Editor, the Gauntlet,

[Re: “Dastardly dreadful Dubnyk drags down drama,” Theatre Review, December 1, 2005]

Kyle Francis’s review of The Libertine in the Gauntlet cannot be permitted to pass by without response, even though the best response to bad press is usually to ignore it.

But this review is so distorted, it begs for a corrective.

Well over 50 per cent of the review is dedicated to a catalogue of cheap shots, personal insults and demeaning, self-indulgent similes aimed at a single actor in a tertiary role. The review smacks of a personal vendetta. What was the reviewer’s hidden agenda?

This review utterly fails to fulfill the basic function of a critique, and as a performance in its own medium becomes a target of the reviewer’s own gratuitous insults.

This review is an appalling and vicious attack on a young student actor (whose performance is excellent, by the way). In calling for the actor to be “fired,” it demonstrates a puzzling misunderstanding–on the part of a student journalist–of the role of university productions in training student actors. Francis also misunderstands some basic vocabulary. The character of Sackville can in no sense be regarded as a “foil” to Rochester; he is just another dissipated companion. The foils to Rochester are the two Elizabeths: the actress Barry, and his wife Malet.

But there is no point in trying to educate Mr. Francis. His review is juvenile; it lacks professionalism, critical judgment and integrity. It should never have seen the light of day; one can only assume that the editors were asleep at the switch.

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