Can too much information spoil your night?

May 26, 2011|By Mike Giuliano

People who read theater reviews sometimes complain that reviewers give away too much plot-related information. It’s a valid point, because audiences should be able to learn who-done-it for themselves.

From a critic’s perspective, it can be difficult to discuss certain plays without giving away too much.

Sometimes we will announce a “spoiler alert” before going on to discuss a crucial plot point. At other times, a critic will simply state that certain plot elements must be discovered for oneself.

A current case in point is Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s 2006 play “The Seafarer” at Fells Point Corner Theatre. This humorously vulgar comedy about poker-playing buddies in a Dublin house involves the introduction of a mysterious stranger whose identity and motives send the play off in a very different direction from what you might expect.

When this play was on Broadway, some critics were quite open in sharing the stranger’s identity with their readers. In reviewing the current production in Baltimore, I overtly made a point of not sharing that information.

Is that always the best policy? Perhaps you are the type who wants to know such things in advance. Or would you prefer it left as a surprise?

“The Seafarer” runs through June 5 at Fells Point Corner Theatre, at 251 S. Ann Street in Fells Point. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 Friday and Saturday, $15 Sunday. There’s also a performance Thursday, June 2 at 8 p.m., with $10 tickets. Call 410-276-7837 or go to

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