1/3   A Critical Essay 

Extract from The Trip Magazine, October 2011:

… I do indeed have a talent, a wonderful thing. Two, actually.

(1)  A deeply unfashionable tendency to express a definitive opinion.

(2)  An ability to let criticism slide off like a buttered whore on a fat man.

To be a reviewer you simply need (1) to present a critique, and (2) to weather the shit-storm provoked by (1). Comforting in a time where the value of a degree has plummeted like a lemming with a pocketful of rocks.   

With regards to (2), ladies and gents, be under no illusion. Walking the path of the reviewer is to invite a hit-and-run. It is a truth universally acknowledged that your words walking in beauty like the night will be as welcome as a doctor with big hands on a gynaecology ward. Folk attracted to the performing arts can suffer from emotional haemophilia — cut them and you’ll never get their feelings out of the carpet. Unless it is written in 100% glowing terms, your review will often be seen as a personal attack. You are, after all, treading on dreams.

I have only ever given one production what is technically termed “a bloody good kicking”. At the time I was furious, livid, the show I reviewed a ghastly exercise in lazy arrogance and audience disrespect. My words reflected this in no uncertain terms. One particular line ran: 

“It [the show] was the vocal equivalent of the Bermuda TriangleMelodies flew overhead only to mysteriously disappear and re-emerge several bars later, shaken, confused and having inexplicably lost time.”

2/3  Hamlet, The Panto

The RSC itself was quite taken with this review in NOT The Berwickshire Advertiser. Which was nice.

3/2   Talking Heads, Alan Bennett

An abridged version of this review was published in The Berwickshire News, October 2011.