Like it or loathe it?

Years ago I used to work in radio. I worked for one of the commercial radio stations that had just opened in London – which says how long ago this was! As a former actor it was thought I’d be the ideal chap to review the offerings from London’s fringe theatre each week.

I went to the fringe two or sometimes three times a week for a couple of years and sat through some incredible shows – incredibly bad and incredibly good. What I remember most though was how uncomfortable the seats were.

Great shows are easy to review and so too are terrible shows – in fact the worse they are the more fun you can have reviewing them. I recall one awful show produced by the ‘Wet Paint Theatre Company’. It was worse than watching paint dry, it was tacky… However the hardest shows to review were the ones that were neither good nor bad but left you feeling quite indifferent.

Surprisingly though only occasionally I’d be out of step with the reviews from other critics; they’d hate a show that I’d loved – or sometimes it was the other way round. This odd phenomenon happened again when I returned to the stage a few years later. Typically I was over-acting in a Noel Coward play in Chichester and getting some substantial laughs from the audience each night, which only served to fan the flames of my broad characterisation. The critics loved it, well some of them did but one or two didn’t and said so quite clearly.

So what does this all prove? One man’s meat is another man’s poison? Yes indeed that’s true and is worth remembering when you get a poor review from colleagues after one of your work presentations. If you have the courage to ask other people for their opinion you might find one or two who thought you were brilliant. But if they all say it was just OK then maybe you should sign up for one of my courses!

The next is on Friday November 1st in Hatton Garden, London EC1, click on the link:

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