May 10, 2006

John Smythe      posted 7 May 2006, 02:59 PM / edited 7 May 2006, 04:38 PM

The following exchange came off my review of The Fundraiser at Centrepoint. Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

My feeling is that, as an audience advocate, the critic is perfectly entitled to hold practitioners accountable for what they choose to do, and when and why, as well as how they do it.

All feedback welcome – we’re here to learn and grow.

Tolis Papazoglou posted 6 May 2006, 04:28 PM  

Hey John

One question jumps out to me :

Are critics/reviewers supposed to challenge programming decisions of the theatres, as well as of the plays/productions…..?

Rein in any unbridled anger, my friend. It’s not helping.

Warm regards as ever.

John Smythe posted 6 May 2006, 06:03 PM  

Hi Tolis

I certainly think it’s a critic’s role to question programming choices, especially where public funding is concerned. Producers are also accountable to their paying public so if, as in this case, I believe the potential of a new script is not realised or has been subverted, it would be irresponsible not to say so.

As for ‘unbridled anger’ – I reject that charge. Misdirected, initially, certainly. And a committed challenge, delivered with passion – just the way we like out theatre.

Best wishes

Tolis Papazoglou posted 7 May 2006, 02:40 PM  

Hi John

Thanks for the reply. But I beg to differ.

It does not matter WHO puts up the money for a production. Artistic Programming is not within the realm of the reviewer, within a review’s parameters. If one disagrees about programming one could put up a comment in a Forum column. But leave the review alone.

As for passion I’m all for it. Why do you think I write here?



Ron Kjestrup      posted 10 May 2006, 07:52 AM

As a new reviewer on the site it is probably no surprise that I agree with John on this one.

I don’t see a lot of difference between a reviewer commenting on programming decisions and a reviewer commenting on the suitability of an individual play. As reviewers we will sometimes question the quality of the play and inherently ask if it was worth producing in the first place. That’s surely a valid position to take and is the same as commenting in the theatre’s programming.

Further – any review encompasses the idea of the “purpose of theatre” or “theatre’s place in society”. It seems an artificial boundary to say I may address this issue in regard to a particular play or in regard to theatre as a whole but not in regard to a theatre’s programme.

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