Sunday, 16 August 2015

PingeFrig: Gareth K Vile

All critics have a large ego; sometimes that is okay, because making the choice to give opinions in public needs a strong sense of entitlement and self-belief. Yet in the case of Gareth K Vile, his egotism is such that it can be said that he hasn't actually reviewed a performance in a decade. He has spent the time reflecting on his personality, occasionally mentioning a play.

Our usual victims are comedy reviewers, but Vile roams all over the arts, spilling his onanistic seed over anything he sees. Working for The List, he has at least been limited mostly to theatre, and the guiding hands of Gail Tolley and Yasmin Sulaiman restrained his more egregious excesses. It's over on his blog that the true scale of his monomania manifests.

Exactly what he thinks he is doing on the blog is unclear. Some pieces are pseudo-intellectual rants (he's so keen to tell the reader that he has a degree), others are ripped off comic books, he might even do the odd review. Recently, he has discovered a way of making artists do all the work, asking them a series of questions and printed the answers in full. No opinion, no mediation, just the hard work of already busy performers.

He's also a backstabbing bastard: many writers will tell of how he is supportive to their faces, before sneaking off to give a scathing two star review. Then he has the cheek to angst, and say how much he hates doing it, as if he, and not the company, are the victims of his scabrous typing.

As for the sexual frustration that oozes through his reviews: let's just note that he manages to mention pole dancing shows when he is invited onto BBC Scotland's religious programme to talk about Christianity in the theatre, and pass on with our heads bowed.

His 'experimental' criticism is worse. He uses a series of personae - which may be signs of disassociative personality disorder - to craft 'amusing' critiques of theatre. Whether he is misspelling as Mad Cyril or ranting in his latest horrible persona, the homeless critic, Vile is always half-baking his pieces. The homeless critic, which he believes is some kind of comment on the cost of the fringe and a test of the community spirit within performance, is an ugly screed of a privileged white male having a vacation in other people's misery.

Every one hates a tourist. 

Even his name - it's either an ageing punk or a failed burlesque act - is stupid. He still thinks he has edge because he puts the odd swear in his posts, or decides - in a classic glasshouse/stones situation - to mock other critics who are more successful than he ever will be. The only good news is that this might be his last Fringe: the rumour is that a University has snapped him up because of his incomprehensible use of long words and he is heading to academia.

In the meantime, try to ignore him. He has the kind of ego that would make him cut and paste this on his blog.

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