Monday, 16 July 2007

If this is a review...

It’s probably not terribly wise to criticise other critics. Especially in places where they could see it. Particularly not when they could comfortably pay your salary roughly five or six times over, and have a reputation and career that pisses over one’s own from a spectacular height.

That said, I am gobsmacked by this double review by M B at the Grauniad. As I have noted before, his current phase of Shaw-adoration is particularly rampant at the moment. Even so, this division of attention seems preposterous in the extreme.

Of course, I don’t know the circumstances of the review's production. It could well be that M B filed two beautifully turned pieces and they were mercilessly put to the scissors by an ill-mannered sub. Or it could be that M B had to argue hard for the inclusion of any word on the second production at all. And yes, he’s done a favour for what sounds (from what little one can glean) like a perfectly good production, insofar as they can now boast "vivacious... performed with a gusto... should appeal to adults and children alike."

But, 64 words? Jesus.

Edit: Out of curiosity, I just word-counted the above. It is 195 words long, or 3 x 65...

Edit v2.0: Perhaps I'm being unduly harsh to Michael, Benedict Nightingale doesn't seem to have been able to drum up much more enthusiasm for writing about it here.

10 comments:

alexf said...

far be it from me to jump to the defence of Mikey, but surely it's better that it gets a nice mention than not one at all, which i presume is the alternative...

Andrew Haydon said...

Yes, obviously to an extent, but assuming that he did the word-count division himself, he barely gives himself enough room to mention some of the salient facts, let alone actually give even the faintest impression of the show. And largely because he wants to bang on about another revival of Shaw, it would seem. I could understand if it was a new play versus a revival, but...

alexf said...

well, it's a peter hall play vs a thing in the studio by someone not many people will have heard of. i imagine he'd have gone to bath if animal farm hadn't been on, but not if the shaw was missing...

Andrew Haydon said...

The Animal Farm adaptation is by Sir Peter and part of the Hall Company Bath season too. That's another of the many elements I find so perplexing.

alexf said...

still: http://billingtonslightreturn.blogspot.com/2007/07/animal-farm-egg-bath-animal-farm-was-on.html

Andrew Haydon said...

Brilliant.

Ian Shuttleworth said...

Space and priorities. Animal Farm is running for two weeks only in the theatre's children's space, as far as I can see; I searched for any touring details before submitting my own review, but didn't see any. Rachel O'Riordan isn't much of a directing name (she did Hurricane, being married to its writer and actor Richard Dormer who was in Hall's company last year), nor are there any notable faces in the cast. It's a show that's there, and needs acknowledgement as part of the season, but to be honest demands little if any more. Consequently, with the same doubling, I filed 480 words on Pygmalion (four stars) and 160 on Animal farm (three). I'd already cut about 160 words from that review, virtually all of them cut from the Pygmalion part.

Andrew Haydon said...

Fair enough. I guess it was just the Shaw/anything else split which got. I would also suggest that 160 words is sensible and 64 less so. Possibly I should choose my fights a bit more carefully.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised at how hurt I am about the comments ian shuttleworth makes- i may not be, certainly compared to someone of peter hall's stature, 'much of a directing name' but it is NOT the case that I directed Hurricane due to 'being married' to its author and performer. That play was commissioned by my own company, Ransom Productions; the genesis of the idea for the show was mine- not my husband's. I have also, prior to Animal Farm, directed Miss Julie at the Theatre Royal, as part of the Peter Hall season, Everything is Illuminated at the Hampstead, Protestants at the Soho and many productions in Ireland... just thought I'd let you know.

Ian Shuttleworth said...

Rachel, I'm sorry if you misunderstood my post - I didn't say, nor mean to imply, that either Hurricane or you was/ware lacking in merit - my more than warm opinion of that production is on record - simply that it was a matter of greater convenience for you to do it. Nor, by saying that you're "not much of a directing name", did I mean to imply that you're not much of a director, but journalistic coverage is swayed by such factors, and I was simply being candid about that.