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 Triangle. Melodies flew overhead only to mysteriously disappear and re-emerge several bars later, shaken, confused and having inexplicably lost time.”
The RSC itself was quite taken with this review in NOT The Berwickshire Advertiser. Which was nice.
An abridged version of this review was published in The Berwickshire News, October 2011.