Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Critics to Look Out For

It's The Fringe, and every company has got a five star rating from somebody. In this highly competitive market, the critic has become powerful, but it is difficult to tell who is worth reading. The Vile Arts has decided to make another click bait posting in a blatant attempt to get the numbers up.

Joyce MacMillan
Critic for The Scotsman, Joyce MacMillan is also a political commentator of some renown. Her status as one of Scotland's premier critics is most noticeable by the plays that she covers during the Fringe: she gets to go the Big Stuff, like the International Festival and The Traverse programme.

MacMillan is a tireless champion of theatre, and covers more ground than entire magazines across the year. Her knowledge of Scottish performance, especially scripted drama,  is unsurpassed and if you can't afford to buy The Scotsman (which does come with a goody bag during August), check out the posters. Her quotes so often express the essence of a piece that they are frequently printed in public.

Mark Brown
Brown's writing can be found all over the internet, as he contributes to Scotland on Sunday, The Telegraph and The List. His enthusiasm is for international theatre and, as a lecturer at Strathclyde University,  he brings a cerebral, yet passionate, approach to his criticism. Known for his direct use of language and an energetic celebration of challenging theatre, he can also be found giving post-show discussions.

Lorna Irvine
This year's new kid on the block, Irvine has been contributing a shed-load of reviews to The List, revealing an extensive knowledge of theatricality from Live Art through to comic turns. As an award winning short story writer, Irvine spices up her criticism with bursts of precise simile, making her reviews more entertaining than the actual shows, sometimes.

Her work can be found on Exeunt and Across The Arts and she has made her name covering the diverse scenes of Glasgow performance, being at home with wild performance antics and Pinter's pauses.

Andrew Haydon
As his Postcards From The Gods demonstrates, Haydon is a restless The Guardian.
writer, fascinated by the evolving nature of theatre and can persuade the skeptic that the script still has life in it. As theatre editor on Culture Wars, he has a tough style, getting involved in discussions about the nature of criticism as well as reviewing for The Guardian.

Haydon is another of the generation of critics who knows his onions: frequently a visitor to other nations, he has a feel for German theatre and is capable of matching his coherent opinions with a depth of wisdom that he shares generously and often.

Yasmin Sulaiman
Currently acting editor on The List, Sulaiman's status is, like that of Joyce MacMillan, best understood through the quality of the shows that she has reviewed.

Her wide experience - she is also a great book reviewer - brings both a broad culture knowledge and a concise writing style to her critiques, and her ability to balance an awareness of content against theatrical techniques makes her articles and reviews compelling introductions to various events.

Gareth K Vile
Preening, pompous and pretentious, Vile's work for The List has fortunately been kept in check by Editor Gail Tolley for the past year. This unhappy task now falls to Yasmin Sulaiman: his blog reads like the documentation of a mental breakdown.

Look out for part 2, coming soon.

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