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OPINION: Reviews versus Publicity (Your News)

Following on from Susan Elkin’s article in our previous issue (no.46) entitled Reviewing Non-Professionals, Sardines is now aware of at least two major theatres that have made it clear of the intention to move away from seeking traditional critical reviews of professional productions.

Instead, there appears to be more of a leaning towards publications and outlets that will most effectively help to ‘promote’ shows, venues and UK tours in general.

Due to the size of today’s production budgets, coupled with the artistic quality of professional casts and creatives, most touring shows will inevitably garner positive reviews. However, there will always be the odd ‘turkey’ that hits the stage. So should local audiences be led to believe that every show is going to impress, or even blow them away?

Sardines is proud of its reputation for giving fair and balanced reviews and, as a result, has become known as a publication that is not guaranteed to simply provide pats on the back to all concerned. We have published five-star reviews for both amateur & professional productions, as well as more disappointing write-ups for shows from both sectors.

We hope this recent move is not a sign of things to come right across the critical board. While receiving houses do need to rent themselves out to touring productions, surely a level of intergrity is still required?