Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Dominic West as Butley in Simon Gray’s “Butley” at the Duchess Theatre, London.

To be blunt, West stunk. The whole production stunk.

West is uglier than sin, which did not contribute to our enjoyment of the afternoon.

The theater was practically empty the afternoon we saw “Butley”. The many unoccupied seats were exceptionally well-deserved.

The production has closed since we attended the August 4 matinee.


  1. It sounds like your theater - excuse me, THEATRE - experience in England was not very enjoyable.

    It's interesting that you used the passive partciple of "stink" in all your reviews instead of the proper imperfect form, "stank." On the other hand, Brummies in Birmingham, England use the participle as the imperfect form. Has this regional usage quirk spread to the vernacular of London?

  2. I regret the grammatical error—but, in Oklahoma, if something was pretty bad, people will always say “it stunk”, not “it stank”.

    Andrew says the same is true in Minnesota: everyone uses “stunk”, not “stank”.

    Perhaps it’s a Midwestern thing? Midwesterners have language variants unknown in the East (and vice versa).

    For example, in the Midwest, people say “Enough!” In the East, people say “Enough already!”, which makes absolutely no sense to Midwesterners.

    I hope you realize that, in Oklahoma (and, to a lesser extent, in Minnesota), a carbonated beverage is referred to as “pop” or “soda pop”. Persons in the East have no idea what “pop” is.

    I would have to say that our theater experiences in London were not enriching. Andrew and his mother mostly enjoyed everything, at least to some degree; the rest of us mostly enjoyed nothing. It was nice, however, to see Diana Rigg.

  3. If you run into someone in the office hallway who is asking where the "bubbler" is, you know that person is from Wisconsin. A "bubbler" is the water fountain.

    I have heard "pop" and "soda" often in northern Ohio and New York State. I remember having no idea what those things were when I first heard those words.

    I confess that my ears - and "mind's ears" - are very sensitive to some very common grammatical errors. I absolutely hate it when people use the perfect form of verbs in place of the imperfect: "I seen dat dude before." It's like these people have suffered from brain damage because they will then turn around and use the imperfect in place of the perfect: "I have ate it already"(!).

    Really now, gag me with a spoon!

    Another pebble in my shoe: The use of the nominative pronoun "I" as the object of a preposition or as the indirect object of a verb. I cannot stand such ignorance from supposedly educated people; but I run across this more and more, hearing it from professional people even in the "communication" business.

    (Maybe German should be required study in grade school.)

    And my greatest peeve? A growing verbal abomination in American society: the universal predisposition to employ the plural possessive pronoun after the singular antecedents "he, or "she," in the attempt to "not offend" any female bystander - even when the context of the resulting brain-crash excludes anyone of the feminine gender. I have seen this grotesque error in print EVERYWHERE, but so far, not in the Wall Street Journal.

  4. And how can any professional journalist not know that the word "alright" does not exist?