Shooting the Messenger

It’s a funny old world. Following on from last nights review of Company at Aberdeen Arts Centre, I have been variously insulted and attacked by those who should perhaps know better.
In the big scheme of things, that is the price of review tickets. Not many folk know this, but apart from a free programme and a press drink at half-time, that is all us reviewers get for our efforts. Yes, there is of course a free seat in the best seats in the house. And yes, it is such a privilege to be freely admitted to every performance of every production ever to grace the stage. But, and I say this gratefully, there is a cost.

The process of reviewing involves not only the viewing of the production but the penning and the thinking as well. An overnight reflection is often good. But some deadlines don’t allow such pleasures. I am generally privileged and have 12 hours or so to sort out my thoughts. And, I think that that is a godsend. Some of my fellow hacks are not so lucky and have to pre-write the bulk of their reviews for a midnight deadline. Not so good then really.
Last nights review concerned Sondheim’s Company. Originally titled Three, it was an interesting if not immersive experience.
My insulting critics referred me to a review of the performance published in The Stage which rightfully concludes:
‘Musical director Nick Barstow capably marshals the unseen band and Anderson uses video projection to bring notes of New York to Nik Corrall’s tasteful cream set. Though we see Bobby using an iPhone the production feels reluctant to completely commit to the idea of a contemporary setting, and with a show like Company, that unpicks the politics of coupling, this absence of context feels like a misstep.’
My review concludes:
‘Is Sondheim’s Company bravely plotless or simply neurotically disorganised? It’s hard to decide and only the man himself would have a definitive view. As for this production, there are a few nuances needing knocked out; not least that dreadful sound system. As for poor Robert? Well, after those endless debates and a total of three birthday cakes it was hard by the end of the proceedings to really care whether the poor man got himself hitched or not.’


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