Clive Barnes? Richard Bentley? Charles Hayward? John Francis Hope? A. Walkely? Wolcott Gibbs? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: One-line theatrical reviews are simultaneously hilarious and unfairly dismissive. A grumpy critic who saw the Broadway show “Smile, Smile, Smile” responded with “I Didn’t, I Didn’t, I Didn’t”. Another disgruntled critic saw “A Terrible Night” and declared “Quite so”. Would you please explore this topic of short pungent reviews.
Quote Investigator: Here is a collection of show names followed by terse reviews. Each date corresponds to the year the citation mentioning the review appeared. Some shows and reviews are apocryphal:
1917: A Terrible Night. Quite so.
1920: Pure As Snow. It is not as pure as snow.
1921: An Awful Night. Quite so.
1921: What a Night! Exactly.
1933: A Moral Crime. It was!
1959: Dreadful Night. Precisely!
1959: Oh, Yes! Oh, No!
1965: Wham! Ouch!
1973: Smile, Smile, Smile. I Didn’t, I Didn’t, I Didn’t.
1979: The Cupboard. Bare.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. The discussion begins with compact reviews of a poem and a book.