“[I]n the theatre, chances are the reviews may be very negative indeed, because a) playwrights don’t review each other’s work, and b) it’s harder to be nice about even a so-so play, largely because boredom in the theatre is more painful than boredom anywhere else. I can read a book I half enjoy, and am sort of bored with, and not resent it overmuch if on balance there’s enough to keep me amused. In the theatre, that kind of evening has the GIN light flashing in my brain within fifteen minutes; by the final curtain, I want to have the director and the playwright killed. So I understand how theatre critics can err on the side of vitriol. I don’t forgive them, mind - and there’s another difference: the theatre is a strictly us-and-them game. Not only do playwrights not review each other, the theatre critic is, and often prides himself on being, Not Of The Theatre, choosing to adopt the persona of the man in the street, and if sometimes it feels like the man in the street he’s channelling is someone whose girlfriend dumped him for you, that’s just tough (The other type of theatre critic – the intellectual who takes you to task for not writing the play she would have if only she wasn’t too busy and important, or for failing in your duty to tasks you never set yourself – is way worse, of course, but at least most of her readers roll their eyes after the first pretentious paragraph and move elsewhere). The only way to deal with bad reviews is not to take them personally – and that applies in spades to the occasional scorcher that actually is. We are the lampposts, they are the dogs.”Yes indeed we are, although CAP Towers being more enamoured of cats than dogs, the Grand Vizier is a metaphorical tray of kitty litter and the critics, well, you catch our niff-neutralized drift. Anyhoo, why not scoot on over to The Parting Glass and leave Declan Hughes a comment welcoming him to the blogosphere. You might as well, seeing as you won’t be leaving one here. Sob.
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Cry Havoc, And Let Slip The Dogs Of Theatre Criticism
It’s been a good week for the micro-niche world of Irish crime fiction blogging, folks – first up we had that crazy Gerard Brennan-shaped diamond launching Crime Scene NI, which the Grand Vizier plans to lull into a false sense of security before launching an all-out attack under cover of one of the weekend nights, when all but the nerdiest of geeks are safely tucked up in front of a cosy bar. But don’t tell Gerard, because there’s nothing the Grand Vizier hates more than a fair fight. Meanwhile, playwright, novelist and square-jawed bon viveur-shaped Renaissance man Declan Hughes (right) went and cracked a bottle of electronic champagne against the prow of his new interweb yokeybus, aka The Parting Glass, and delivered a broadside against those pesky theatre critics, just in case any of those scurvy knaves were thinking of lifting a leg in the direction of his latest opus, THE DYING BREED. Quoth Dec: