Why are reviews so important? This week I sat down with Rodrigo Flores of Joyful Magpies for an interview (stay tuned for that one). Post interview, we were able to talk about the state of critical reviews in the region. My opinion is that the East Coast is dramatically under reviewed, if not ignored by the big wigs in Toronto and Vancouver. Montreal is like the Bermuda triangle of information. James Mullinger sold out Harbor Station. An incredible feat for any stand-up comedian. There were reviews in Europe popping up! Yet very little west of Quebec.
For me, noteworthy creative practice is not limited by region. You can buy the same supplies anywhere in the world and you can create anything. So why is no one looking here? I may not have the answer, but I can at least rant about the problem.
Informed critical reviews are incredibly important to any artist, and as a group, we should be encouraging more journalism driven creatives to write. Today, I'm sat in the Cafe at the Beaverbrook Gallery applying for artist residencies. I have a running list of every article I have ever been mentioned in. I quote them, direct other artistic professional too them and use them for the press. I am literally using STU Reviews and Joyful Magpies as credible sources. I personally would love to have even more sources to pull from.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Theatre as an art form is dying. Fewer people are coming out to shows. As artists, we have to compete with Netflix for your time and Walmart for your disposable income. In the 1800s theatre reviews would be front page, and everyone would know about the latest trends happening in London. Now, I have to search the internet to see if someone hopefully reviewed something I worked on.
There is some debate about whether theatre criticism is for the artist or the reader. For me, this is like “what came first, the chicken or the egg”. Either way, people need to see more shows, write more reviews and share as much a possible. The Maritimes should be so loud that the west has to look over here.
Thank you for coming to my soapbox.