Is anyone else weary of the current media frenzy feeding off of Lily Allen's insipid moan (read PR stunt) about being "fat, ugly and sh**er than Winehouse?"
Er, personally I think her issues stem more from dressing like like a 50’s housewife meets pep rally cheerleader than her body image or lack of talent. But, enough of that, there are far bigger drama queens to concern ourselves with this week. Literally.
Over on the Guardian
website, Nicholas Hytner's
against 'dead white male theatre critics' seems to have provoked some washing of dirty linen in public, with No 1 drama critic Michael Billington
and No 2 drama critic Lyn Gardner
lobbing overpriced icecreams at each other from the back of the stalls. And as any NT goer worth a £10 Travelex seat
will know, there have been a few duds recently at the National, but I still thought Hytner's comments a bit churlish.
The larger crisis in theatre today certainly isn't the critics, but rather a shortage of good new plays. There are plenty of mediocre ones around, and over-praising them isn't going to help anyone. But, thankfully, under praising
doesn't have to kill them. Just take the Guardian's two-star bashing
of the Royal Court's subsequent storming sell-out 'That Face'.
The point is that sometimes, when half the critical world is up in arms, and the other half in rapture, then you could be in for a treat. Rather than pan the reviewers Hytner-style, isn't it better to get a sense of the individual critic's aesthetics and orient their taste in relation to yours? Thus one can formulate, in time, simple rules, such as (hypothetically of course): "If Lyn Garnder of the Guardian
hates it, then I will love it."