Literary folk are a witty lot

Regarding the fulminations of the man who didn't like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream": Methinks he forgot that brevity is the soul of wit.

— George S., Ashland

The Since You Asked Department of Poison Pens and Lethal Barbs couldn't agree more, George. Here are some of our favorite shorties:

  • "I can't stand Shakespeare's plays, but yours are even worse." — Tolstoy to Chekhov after seeing "Uncle Vanya."
  • "She was so dramatic she stabbed the potatoes at dinner." — Sydney Smith on actress Sarah Siddons.
  • "Two things should be cut," Noel Coward said of a play whose child star annoyed him, "the second act and the child's throat."
  • Heywood Broun on a Broadway comedy: "The play opened at 8:40 sharp and closed at 10:40 dull."
  • Alexander Woolcott once went to review a Broadway show called "Wham!" His review: "Ouch!"

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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