TN has been catching up on her blog reading, which was interrupted by a refreshing three weeks away from a computer screen. And to say I am delighted to see the return of Encore Theatre Magazine after a long downtime is putting it mildly. Rude, witty, stylishly written and, most importantly, deeply informed and passionate about theatre, the indefatigable Theatre Worker (a pseudonym for an anonymous collection of English theatre types) bracingly reminds you that theatre is hip, intelligent and beautiful. (Well, sometimes it is.)
The site is named after a British theatre magazine that circulated almost 50 years ago, and states its mission thus:
The life of Encore was brief but furious. For little more than a decade, between 1954 and 1965, the magazine railed at the state of British theatre, championing work that it saw as standard-bearing for the experimental, challenging, vital theatre it sought. It was not an ideologically-driven magazine; it was not consistent; it admired the Royal Court, Theatre Workshop, Ionesco, Arden, and Tynan, and it often attacked all of these. But it had passion and it had curiosity. Its standards were invariably high. It knew what it wanted.Words to warm the cockles of an old blogger's heart. Get thee hence for some frankly hilarious scalpeling of Tom Stoppard's latest play Rock'n'Roll, which opened to much celebrity hoohah while I was in London. And lest you think Encore's appeal is all schadenfreude, hang around to read its meditations on the Royal Court's 50th anniversary. And much else.
We've named this site after Encore. We're not reviving the magazine but maybe we can revive its spirit. We want the online Encore Theatre Magazine to champion what is good and attack what is not. Just like its predecessor, we want to be a voice for a new theatre, building on the firmest foundations left to us, but pulling down the timbers of the rotten playhouses.
Meanwhile in New York, Mr Hunka at Superfluities is lamblasting commercial excesses in this post. And on this continent, Mr Boyd over at The Morning After has been getting to quite a few shows I've missed, including Unspoken, recently on at the Malthouse, and the Sydney production of Marius von Mayenburg's The Cold Child.