On Friday I received comforting words from a minister (of the cloth not the crown). They were more than welcome.
Although I like to say that twenty plus years of making theatre with Stan’s Cafe has left me desensitized to the critical lash, the truth is rather different. When we performed The Cardinals at the Roundhouse a few critics suggested it was a fun show, based on a neat metaphor/theatrical device, that then didn’t really amount to a great deal.
It helped that there were other critics who had nothing but positive things to say about the show. Crucially audiences where hugely positive and engaged with the show; many shared sophisticated readings of it with us but somehow all this positive feedback failed to cancel out those accusations of the show being somehow thin. We thought they were wrong, that they’d settled for a reading of the show that fails to recognise its philosophical / theological / historical nuance. We thought this was the case but somehow our evidence felt a bit flimsy against reviews published in national newspapers. Then came along Rev. Dr. Richard Frazer.
Richard is the Minister at Greyfriar’s Kirk in Edinburgh where we performed The Cardinals last month. He saw the show. He loved the show. He talked passionately about the show and yesterday he sent us his thoughts about the show in an email. His words are a great comfort. They confirm for us that for him at least the show is what we had hoped it would be and thought it was. His eloquent endorsement of the show, voluntarily offered, articulates what lots of people have said to us anecdotally. It is a funny show but there is much more to it than that.
This isn’t an attack on critics. To wildly misquote Oscar Wilde, the only thing worse than a critic writing a poor review of your show is a critic ignoring your show. Each to their own and as on-line reviewing gains momentum more of each are sharing their own. Audiences and promoters pick and choose and read between the lines. Let us have lots of voices discussing art, let’s have a chorus or cacophony of opinion and analysis. Rev. Frazer said he was happy for his opinion to be shared, so we have added it to the reviews section of The Cardinals. I may now feel robust enough to add some more.
And another thing…
The one critic who genuinely hated the show described the cast as ‘aging’ – excuse us for not employing those who are cryogenicly frozen.