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Theatrical, Stage and Play Insults

... his figure is that of a hippopotamus, his face like the hull and mouth on the panels of a heavy coach, his arms are fins flattened out of shape, his voice the gargling of an alderman with the quinsy and his acting altogether ought to be a natural, for it is certainly like nothing that Art has ever exhibited on stage.
Lord Byron (1788-1824) on Master William Betty (1791-1874), child actor
... the ideal of the haberdashery clerk and of all the other chumps who had never heard of Rubens or the Greeks or fresh air.
Ralph Barton on Lillian Gish
A crazy fanatic... a crazy cranky being... not only consistently dirty, but deplorably dull... A gloomy sort of ghoul... blinking like a stupid old owl.
Newspaper review of Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)
A woman whose face looked as if it had been made of sugar and someone had licked it.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) on Isadora Duncan (1878-1927), American dancer
An ego like a raging tooth.
W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) on Mrs Patrick Campbell (1865-1940)
Foote is quite impartial, for he tells lies of everybody.
Samuel Johnson (1709-84) on Samuel Foote (1720-77), British actor and dramatist
He will ultimately take his stand in the social rank... among the swindlers, blacklegs, pickpockets and thimble-riggers of his day.
Anonymous writer in Tait's Edinburgh Magazine (1855) on Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-91), American showman
lb me Edith looks like something that would eat its young.
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) on Dame Edith Evans (1888-1976), British actress
My Dear Sir, I have read your play. Oh, my dear Sir. Yours Faithfully
Henry Beerbohm Tree (1853-1917) to a would-be dramatist
She was so dramatic she stabbed the potatoes at dinner.
Revd Sydney Smith (1771-1845) on Mrs Siddons (1755-1831), tragedian actress
Smells to high heaven. It is a dramatised stench.
Newspaper review of George Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession
Superabundance of foulness... wholly immoral and degenerate... you cannot have a clean pig stye.
Newspaper review of George Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession
Two things should be cut - the second act and the child's throat.
Noel Coward (1899-1973) on a dull play with an annoying child star


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