Monday, June 25, 2007

More Bad Reviews Are In...For London Critics

More Bad Reviews Are In...For London Critics

Yesterday's issue of The Times included a story by A.A. Gill, who cast a very critical eye on today's theatre critics. If you thought Nicholas Hytner picked a fight, read this.

Among other things, Gill asks rhetorically:

So, why do they do it? You’d imagine they’d do the performers the courtesy of clapping and leaving all of five minutes later with the rest of us. I don’t think even they know why they do it. I wonder whether most of them know what they’re doing in a theatre any more....No aspect of the culture is as badly served by its critics as the theatre is. The chorus of critics has forgotten that its first calling is as journalists, to write readable, intelligent and amusing articles.

A certain Mark Pearce comments on the story by recommending fellow readers to "Check out West End Whingers, City Slicker, Interval Drinks and any other number of London theatre blogs for a fresh perspective." I'll drink to that (each of them is listed among my favorite daily reads).

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 25 June, 2007, Blogger Statler said...

Hopefully Lyn Gardner's response at the Guardian Blog wll put an end to this one.

Gill's article doesn't often hit the mark, and as it doesn't seem to have been prompted by a recent incident or review I have to suspect that he's just taken the critics for a group likely to give him a suitably public response.

Lets just not let it drag on for weeks like the Hytner thing did. Fun as it is to watch these spats unfold, it might be nice if we could get back talking about theatre rather than critics.

Although I do think it is worth asking
what we want from a review.

At 25 June, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

As always, I appreciate your thoughts. Lyn Gardner struck a nerve with me in her line that "Funny and fair are often awkward bedfellows."

I'm thrilled that she's recognized my friends at West End Whingers, and absolutely agree with her that "It is when reviewers - even the supreme stylists - become or think they are more important than the work they review, that culture really suffers." No one person should have that much power, and thankfully, with the advent of blogs, more voices are being heard - including those who love theatre as a vital art form.

At 27 June, 2007, Blogger Interval Drinks said...

Thanks for the nod, Steve. There's a pretty decent debate going on about Gill's rather odd article in progress on the Whingers site...


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