Monday, September 17, 2007

Who needs reviews?

Blogs are changing theatre criticism because now critics are held accountable for their opinions. Only the other day my editor threatened to fire me because someone wrote a blog which said that one of my reviews was wrong.

This is a good thing, but not totally. For instance, in the past, arguments about George Bernard Shaw used to drag on for weeks. Now they're all over in minutes. Also, blogs make people write about things they haven't seen yet. How stupid is that?

Still, there's nothing like the printed word! Word counts make you write shorter and better! Blogs are unfocussed ramblings. Reviews are perfectly structured gems of prose.

Also, critics are uniquely equiped to see through all of the PR and marketing that surrounds plays. They do this by going to theatres on special nights set aside for them, where they are met by the play's publicist, handed a handy press pack put together by the marketing department and given free drinks at the interval which come from the play's marketing budget. How could an ordinary member of the public possibly see through the marketing, which, from the theatre's point of view, I am a part of?

In the end, proffesional critics live or die by their independence of mind and the ability to string a few sentences together. Knowing what the word "accountable" means is a bonus.