It's Saturday and I'm working a double dose of High Fidelity.
During the walk-in I was talking with one of the Associate Producers. He was telling me how upset he was about Ben Brantley's review from the Friday NY Times. I tried to reassure him that Ben Brantley was simply the wrong critic to have reviewed the show - that Brantley's taste was more like that of the blue haired old ladies that come to see Wednesday matinees than it was of the hipsters to whom they seem to be appealing. I told him that Brantley missed the point of the show - that he just didn't get it. I was kind of kissing his butt a little bit. After all, this guy I was talking to is a big time Broadway producer.
What was I going to say? That Ben Brantley was right? Of course not. If you read the Ben Brantley review from beginning to end you'll realize that his review is actually very well informed. He's read the book by Nick Hornby and he's seen the film by Stephen Frears. His observations are based on both literary and filmic experience with the story. On top of that, he knows Broadway and has been reviewing shows for quite some time. I think it's safe to say that he knows what he's talking about.
The general feeling is that Brantley's review was harsh. But if it were good, they would have been thrilled. But does Brantley give good reviews? I don't recall ever reading a review about anything that he liked. Here is a link to his theater reviews. Can you find a play that he liked?
High Fidelity isn't brilliant but it isn't awful either. If you use Wedding Singer and Les Miserables as measuring posts the Wedding Singer being the worst and Les Mis being the best, High Fidelity falls dead center in terms of commercial appeal. The show will definitely find its audience. All you have to do is to decide whether or not you want to be a part of that audience.