Reviewing the Reviewers

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muppet-critics

First night done and we awaited today’s reviews and critiques of last night’s show – and they were good thankfully, but terribly generic. The question arises: are the days of the professional critic dead with the advance of social media – or are journalists just lazy?

Here’s the Aberdeen Evening Express’s Ed Earl’s review of the show:

Ed Review

Not one mention of the actual show appears in here. No cast are mentioned, nothing for music or direction, in fact it smacks of someone who didn’t actually come and see the see at all. Or was it a longer piece which underwent a hatchet job by an angry editor? Either way it does seem that although this is not an important part of the newspaper by world news standards you would hope that if someone is given a free ticket to see a show they would actually make the effort to engage with it and give it a genuine critique.

It’s not a plea from an ego, or desperate cry from the cast for acceptance, but when you have worked really hard on a show as complex as Avenue Q is for the best part of half a year you’d expect more than a Wikipedia copy and paste job. Either you do a decent job – or an editor actually makes space for a full review – or don’t bother at all because it’s worthless as a piece of work.

So do we even need critics any more with the world of Twitter, Facebook and the world of social media anyway? We all write what we think of films and gigs when we leave them anyway, why are people still paid to give their opinion and an arbitrary number of stars when we largely ignore them. How often have you heard the phrase “Despite critical panning it was one of the biggest successes….” or conversely “critically acclaimed but did poorly at the box office”? We tend to trust each other rather than the pompous twat Quentin Letts of the Daily Heil these days.

The main reason this annoyed me is that these people are given a free ticket to see a show, a seat that could have had a paying customer in it instead of a cynical and uninterested journalist. With all the evenings being sell outs we didn’t need the publicity and frankly I’m proud of the show regardless. The appreciation from the crowd is all you want and we’ve had dozens of fantastic responses already to last night. If Ed enjoyed it as he eventually says then his job is surely to say why – explain what tickled his funny bone or moved him, not just compare it to another show written by one of the writers.

So Ed, I appreciate that with the Ukraine and Sochi, Flooding and the fire at the beach this morning we are near the bottom of the list of importance, but if you’re going to do a job…

JD

P.S. Avenue Q was here in Aberdeen a couple of years ago Ed, so it’s not the North-East debut for the show. #checkthefacts

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