Saturday, 9 August 2014

'That Sinking Feeling'

Let me tell you about my guilt.

I don't think critics ought to review student companies at the Fringe. I try to avoid them - the odd one slips past, but only because they don't mention it on their press release (or I am so excited about the content, I don't pay attention).

This is not out of hatred for student theatre, although I maintain that anyone who says it is 'as good as professional' is nearly always wrong. On a literal level, it is not professional, as most young companies do not get paid to perform. In terms of quality, there are works that can compete with the full-time actors. However, this is more often because the full-time workers are not doing their job properly... or the youth company has pulled out something special.

But even those companies who do pull out all the stops don't merit a review from a professional critic (same definition of professional as above). To assess a young company by the same parameters as a professional company is to miss the point. Youth theatre is for learning, not for getting told you forgot your lines or weren't convincing.

Now and again, I'll do a 'dramaturgical report': less about quality but discussing the work. In the meantime, I feel guilty and give plugs for shows that deserve an audience that doesn't include me.

That Sinking Feeling


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