Critical masses ~ theatre notes

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Critical masses

Thanks so much to everyone who posted nice comments on the essay I dragged out of the archives. Theatre Notes feels loved and cherished... This is perhaps not good for a crrritic, who rightly ought to be dipping her nib in venomous wit prior to skewering her next hapless victim (phew, I just remembered that I'm reviewing Leonard Radic's new book for ABC Radio National, so balance is restored).

The responses highlight how obsessed we theatre types are with the question of theatre criticism. There are a number of reasons for this, mainly to do with theatre's status as a temporal art. Companies depend on reviews as a means of getting the word out on a show and drawing an audience. And (one of my bugbears) once the show is closed and gone, reviews are often the major documentary evidence that a work existed at all. Inadequate reviewing can mean that entire swathes of theatre history vanish altogether.

Anyway, for further discussions on criticism in London and New York, where concerns are interestingly congruent, check out Encore Theatre Magazine's stimulating discussion on responding to critics and Superfluities' own dip into the archives, this thoughtful essay here.

And a PS: I just caught up with Ben Ellis' review of Cameron Woodhead's demolition of David Grieg's The American Pilot, recently mounted by Red Stitch. Not having seen this show, I have no opinion of the production or play: but I'm wholly with Ben on his opinion of Woodhead's "toxicity". I think it's a serious problem that a reviewer who so transparently knows so little about theatre and whose main vocation seems to be that of a walking sneer should be the new senior reviewer at the Age. In comparison, the daze of Radic seem almost halcyon. And that's saying something...

1 comment:

genevieve said...

I liked your essay too, Alison, and linked to it. Much meat there for all critics.