(Linda Mooney’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/6.)
Michael Billington wants to bury the myth that people didn’t respond to theatre reviews before the internet. “I have a collection of letters and postcards from disgruntled writers, actors and directors,” he says. “And there was one incident in the 1970s at the Royal Court, when I had described a play by David Storey as a stinker. He berated me and hit me on the head. It didn’t hurt, but it was a visible rebuke – and, of course, the Evening Standard reporter was on hand to write about it.”
Billington has been the Guardian’s theatre critic since 1971 and while the technology may have changed, the nuts and bolts of the job remain the same. “A critic’s review is just the opening salvo,” he says. “It’s not the end of the debate, it’s the start and it always has been. What is different is the speed of reply and the sometimes intemperate nature of the things people write.”
Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.