Belly of a film critic
I feel 1 must write to you concerning the pronouncements made by Trevor .lohnston on the Film Festival. ( The List 156) What sort of critical faculty does it take to believe that a ‘healthy sociability factor" is created by a large number of beers being consumed at one elitist party while decrying a film festival for
showing too many films? ( More to
the point. the price of 5000 bottles of l’ilsner l'rquell at £1.60 could have been better spent on bringing over directors and subtitling foreign films
than gorgingthe belliesof.lohnston
and his ilk ).
In case you hadn’t noticed. the festival is also open to the public. It is often our only chance to see certain films on the big screen. .\laybe only twenty people turned out for l‘irankenstetn. btit they got the rare
chance to see II at one of Edinburgh’s
80'l‘he List 30 August — 12 September 1991
best screens. Don‘t blame the programmers for making these films available. surely the publicists and critics who fail to highlight the all-too—rare screenings are responsible for empty auditoria. Instead of picking out the best of the films which had been at the festival and w ill return on general release. why not highlight films at the festival w hich we w ill not get a chance to see again. S. Henderson Sciennes Edinburgh
24 hourparty people
Are stand-up comics ruining the Fringe? I don‘t know. they might be. but the cost of going to the Fringe is ruining the Fringe as far as 1 can see. In the midst of all the debate about whether it has grown too big. everyone seems to have forgotten your humble l-‘ringe—goer. Last year there was a competition to see the most number of shows in 24 hours. Why doesn't the Fringe Society sell a 34—hour season ticket which would allow the holder to free tickets from the Fringe box office fora 34-hour period? 1 am sure it would be popular. be cheap to administer. and would generate larger audiences for shows.
How many thespians does it take to change alight bulb‘.’ Four: one to change the bulb and three to complain the critics misinterpreted the symbiotic relationship between bulb and actor. I am not a ‘professional‘ critic. but 1 go to plays. and 1 know what 1 like. So when 1 read Katie London‘s carp at the critics ((‘ritical Reaction The List 156) I thought 1 would go along and review her show (The ()vercoat. performed by the 'l’ottering Bipeds) myself. ‘.’\ waste of time.‘
Terminally bored by the Dire Straits gigs? Dying fora mug of real tea? Dead to the world from Arnie Overkill? Well get up off your death bed and write to us at The List. You might win a bottle ofJose Cuervo Tequila.
'l‘hey may quote me on that in their next press release if you like. For my part. 1 will continue to read reviews so that a) I do not waste more of my time b) 1 am amused while waiting for the next show to start.
(‘ath 'l‘raittet' Dennistoun
So the boy Nigel Kennedy took time out from his holiday on Skye in 1973 to play on stage with Stephane (irappelli. did he'.’ ( The List 156).
l low they do change! It wottld be nice if the grown-up had as much verve as he did in his former days. I
wonder why the attraction of playing ;
in the greatest Festival iii the world has diminished. Surely he has not grown too big to get into the hall'.’ Andrea ('larke
.Vigel Kennedy informs us:
"The growth on my neck (which achieved a certain notoriety in June when the head ofRadio 3 mistook it
so much trouble that it became necessary to have it surgically removed. The result is that. more than three weeks later. [still can 'tplay the violin. I will do everything in my power to replace these concerts and apologise/or the incon venience caused to members ofmy audience. '
I l e ltas rescheduled his Glasgow datefor Tuesday ll) December. The lidinburgh festival is but once a year. making rescheduling slightly more problematic.
l have to commiserate with poor Trevor Johnston. what an unhappy time he must have had at the Film Festival (Final reels The List 156). So many films and all that is etched on his mind is the l’ilsner lirquell party. So what reviews will we read next week‘.’ ‘All quiet on the l’ilsner front’. ‘(‘iti'/.en Lquuell’. ‘Butch L'rquell and the l’ilsner Kid’. Basically MrJohnston. life is
Printed by Scottish (‘ounty
for afake vampire bite) was giving me '
v 1" ' ﬁQV-Va'dﬁ" I ‘ t_J ’9,
cheap. but l’ilsner lfrquell is expensive'. (unless you are a film critic ofcourse.)
Do you not think it important to give more than token coverage to what is going on in Scotland's [.argest— and best — city. (ilasgow. while all the Edinburgh Festival shenanigans are under way? There are 92 pages of The List. 69 (including adverts) are dedicated to the Edinburgh Festival and only eighteen to other events. And two of them are for the telly. which you lot get too.
1 could not care less whether Frank Dunlop had afternoon tea with 'l‘hom Dibdin (llow bloody Morningside can you get). What about the real world.
Yeah, well we've all had enough of the Festival now as well so you can join us in getting stuck into the tequila. We resume normal service
from this issue. once again giving
Glasgow the coverage it deserves.
" CUERVﬂ Eequilu
Deathly hush Were you at The (‘ameo on the night of Friday 23rd August to watch the 1 1.15pm show of Henry? Maybe you were one of the merry band who guffawed extravagantly throughout? Funny was it? Rape. maiming and anguish. murder upon motiveless murder. — worth a giggle? Is there any film starker. more searching and demanding and moral?
The Silence of the Lambs was a
cop-out and irresponsible with a cosy wee chuckle to end on. Henry found you out. oh frolicsome ones. you thought you had its measure: you answered with laughter but there is no answer— we share his humanity and we know he exists. Go and see it again. lads. this is no laughing matter. Restrain the performing urge perhaps: 1 think there was something you missed.
Tired and emotional
An interesting touch that. in The List 156. to get a performer to comment on her reaction to the critics. On the whole. 1 agree with Katie London that critics are lazy. It does seem that they spend their time propping up the bar ofthe Assembly Rooms. If that is the only place they have visited. they cannot say they have been to Edinburgh. let alone the Edinburgh Festival.
But you must give credit where it is due. Many critics see three or four shows a day. in pursuit of the one which is truly original. Think of the stamina needed to watch over twenty performances in one week while still maintainingone‘s standards and providing lucid copy. The pressure to start reviewing the seats becomes intense.
I was talking to a journalist for a Spanish paper the other evening. who told me that he is covering the International Festival. the Fringe. and the Film Festival. An enviable task. you might think. and it is. but the fact is that he has to provide two pages of copy every week. Even when fatigue sets in. he has to keep going to shows.
As for the quote from The Indescribably Boring’s critic that ‘the established discourse of theatre reviewing is more acceptable to educated middle-class people'. What patronising middle-class rubbish. I prefer the Evening Snooze‘s comment that reviewing shows is a job. like any other reporting job. Whether or not critics are any good at acting is totally immaterial. so long as we can communicate the essence ofthe play to its potential audience.
A. Critic. (Name and address supplied)
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