With great power comes great responsibility: why I can’t write a nasty review
Is it worth destroying?
I’ve sat through some truly terrible plays. And films. And programmes. The sets have broken, the acting produced sniggers and the entire interpretation was largely disastrous. These performances can be quite entertaining. We’ve all enjoyed Ibsen or Sharknado while recognising that it was good for the wrong reasons.
The worst ones are the pretentiously sub par ones. The kind someone’s daddy funded and the score was written by a one eyed Parisian poet using an onion. Anyway, regardless of how trashy, OTT or dull your production was, I promise not to be a dick about it in my column.
I’ll sneer at it over dinner. I won’t meet you at the stage door. I’ll even WhatsApp my thespian mates to complain. But I’ll still never write it up. Because I don’t think that constructive. Being nasty helps no one.
I’ve been in some shit productions. I’ve given terrible performances. I have shuddered going on stage with some leading men. Harsh but sadly reality. By and large, as Robert Lindsay once said, most of the time actors know if the production is bad. It just buys the bread. I will hint at what was not so good or find something else to write about. Ruining an actor’s career because they had an off night or were working to a terrible script is mean and unkind.
They are fun to read (and write) but the damage a negative review has is enormous. Word of mouth is what sells tickets. Unless your play is so awful that its worth seeing (Macbeth 2010, AR) then this can cost people’s income, homes and livelihood. All because I think you are a crap actress and the setting is ridiculous. Unfair and unnecessary.
If you are good, I’ll be honest. If you are average, I’ll be honest. If you are not great, I’ll be honest. But if the show is atrocious, I will back off and let more soulless critics get the hits.
I don’t have the guts to destroy you. Yet.