Spiteful, cynical, structurally flawed – why on earth are critics raving about Gloria?

A scene from Gloria (image: Marc Brenner) Hand it to the Americans. They know how to hype a talent to death. The to be asphyxiated by the literary establishment is Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. He’s written six off-Broadway plays (one adapted from a script by Boucicault), and won a ton of awards and prize money. Most of the English ‘critics’, if one call them that, have meekly regurgitated the American propaganda. Gloria , which was nominated for the Pulitzer, arrives at Hampstead. The setting is a snobbish New York magazine, which is absolutely and emphatically not the New Yorker , according to Jacobs-Jenkins. (Before to drama, he worked at the New Yorker for three years.) We’re in a poky back office where three bored sub editors carp and backbite about their jobs, their drink , and their difficulties securing book deals. Their personalities have too many attributes in common: they’re glib, self-centred, lazy and foul-mouthed. There’s no wit or warmth in the building and no trace of romance between any of the characters. And though it’s fun to watch these over-educated snobs carping and whining for a few minutes, their boorish petulance soon becomes predictable and […]

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