Saturday, 14 August 2010

Reviewer vs Director... A Cross Over?

I did something the other day after seeing a show which I think could be conceived as a cross-over from reviewer to director. After seeing a show (which shall not be named) for reviewing purposes, I felt so strongly about it I felt I had to say something. This led to me having a conversation with the director / playwright / choreographer / performer and letting her know exactly what I thought before I wrote it. This was partly because of the infuriating word count that ThreeWeeks limit their reviewers with and partly because I really want this before mentioned director / playwright / choreographer / performer to go on and achieve success with her work; after all she is very talented.

I was apprehensive giving my notes, particularly as she was just 19! Firstly this made me feel incredibly under-achieved and secondly I simply didn't want to hurt her feelings. In actual fact, she probably dealt with the situation in a far more professional and mature way than I did; she shook my hand, introduced herself and listened intently as I gave my advice. It even seemed to have an impact on her and to my relief I was not the first reviewer to let her know what was so obviously wrong with the piece; The Scotsman had advised the exact same thing.

All in all, this may be the case of a reviewer critiquing the show in person rather than in word and not actually my director self coming out at all. Either way I was glad I could expand on what would have been a short and unexplained snapshot of a review, and I think maybe she was too.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Reviewer vs Director

Reviewing amateur shows for The Stage at Edinburgh can be painful. Having directed myself, it is often heartbreaking leaving a performance knowing that you will be giving it a terrible review when all you want to do is give directorial feedback. Of course in some instances this means picking them up, giving them a good old shake and yelling at them to change their ways or stop charging money, but at other times there are just the few elements that show potential and need that extra guidance. Hopefully, they will read my review and therefore find out what exactly I thought went wrong, but not in enough detail. I am by no means suggesting that I am any better than these companies, or that I am necessarily right with my initial opinions but it would be nice to go outside of the 250 word limit and speak to these people in a language that needn't be witty or entertaining, but instead direct and straight to the point. I do believe that a reviewer should not write a word that they couldn't say in a face-to-face meeting, it is simply a shame that there are not more of these meetings had. I welcome any one of the companies suffering the effects of my written word to get in contact for further feedback as they certainly deserve to hear it unedited. What concerns me is that some will not listen; to me, or anyone else who criticises their work. I feel like Simon Cowell telling a young X-Factor contestant warbling through a Mariah Carey hit that they can't sing; it is harsh, but ultimately true.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I've Arrived... It's Edinburgh 2010

Fifteen hours of bumpy bum-numbing mini-bus ride and I have finally arrived in Edinburgh. Five hours later I am awake again to beautiful views of the city (and so they should be considering the four flights of stairs I had to lug my case up) and after a pancake breakfast I am out on the cobbles sellotaping posters to shop windows and enjoying being able to walk the Royal Mile with limited harassment. Working every night and most days for the month with Anomic Multi-Media Theatre Company, reviewing and blogging should be the last thing I can think about, but I am gearing myself up for the innovative and the unexpected, the terrible and the down-right strange; reviewing is my ticket to adventuring the new. Having perused the extraordinarily large program of events I am oddly relieved that I do not have to pick what to see; it is rather an exciting prospect to have no clue what you could be sent to next. I am eager to get out there, be caught up in the rush between shows, be stimulated by performance and be inspired to do what I love; write. It may be stressful, sleep-deprived and character testing, but working three jobs at Edinburgh couldn't be more exhilarating. Here's to Edinburgh 2010.