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There are as many points of view in regard to dramatic criticism as there are critics and the reason for this rather deplorable state of affairs is evident: criticism in the modern sense is merely a discussion of the critic's temperament as it is affected by the subject under the microscope at the moment.
Having now delivered myself of this ultimatum, let me proceed to do my reviewing. And let me say now that I am not afflicted with indigestion. I have tried to judge clearly and dispassionately.
I have not been looking forward to this moment; I hate to say harsh things about others. But this time, if I am to be true to my own doctrine, I must. Of all the stupid, trite comedies that I have ever lived through, "The Rotters," the current attraction at the Copley is perhaps the stupidest and most trite. This statement I will repeat, figuratively and on paper, in the face of Mr. H. F. Maltby who wrote the words, and of every audience which holds its sides and roars at the inanities which come floating over the footlights.
The chief trouble with "The Rotters" is, as I have tried to intimate, that it is absolutely innocent of plot, and that the words put in the mouths of the actors are too flat to make up for the commonplaces of the action. Everything happens according to the good, old, established school of countless colorless comedies, and the spectator is tempted to whisper "I told you so," at every well-known incident. If ever there was a man who likes to get back to the root of things, Mr. Maltby has shown himself to be such when looked upon in the light of the jokes resurrected from their honored, and, I had hoped, forgotten graves.
One bright spot remains. The acting of "The Rotters" was superb in spite of the difficulties of a first night performance. There was not a line into which the actors, particularly Miss May Ediss, who impersonated a young person of 15 or so, and Alan Mowbray in the part of the chauffeur, did not put all the life possible.
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