British theatre producer Michael Codron, who received an Olivier Award for lifetime achievement earlier this month, has some harsh words for theatre bloggers.
Here's what the 79-year-old Codron told Mark Lawson in The Guardian:
His single flash of anger is aimed at the bloggers who, in defiance of theatrical convention that comment is embargoed until press night, review a play during its previews. "It's almost invariably reactionary responses. They're the modern equivalent of the lot that used to boo the plays in the 50s and 60s. I think they're ghastly."
When I started my blog, if I saw a preview I wouldn't wait, I'd post my review immediately. Now, I do tend to wait for opening night simply because it's more fun that way! If I saw a preview performance, I always mention that.
But since I pay for my tickets I'm under no obligation to anyone, especially the producers, to hold off on stating my opinion. And, I might add, I've paid full price for shows in preview.
The blog isn't my job, it's a hobby. It's simply an extension of a conversation I might have in everyday life. It's a way for me to jot down my thoughts, to vent occasionally, to write about something I enjoy.
To say that I shouldn't post a review until opening night is as silly as saying I shouldn't talk about the show with friends or coworkers or post something on Twitter. I should just enter the cone of silence and not utter a word to anyone.
Theatre fans are a pretty passionate bunch - hate it or love it, we want to talk about what we've seen. Why would you want to stifle that dialogue? Besides, the bloggers whose reviews I read regularly are extremely thoughtful and knowledgeable - hardly "reactionary."
Of course if someone accepts a free ticket from a producer with the understanding that they'll wait until opening night, well that's a different story. It's just not mine.