On Wednesday The Bridge Theatre’s PR company (who shall remain nameless because we all have sent embarrassing emails in a professional capacity) sent an email to Nicholas Hytner, The Bridge’s founder and director of the upcoming Julius Caesar a list of press attending their three press nights and rather oddly a list of those who under no circumstances were not being offered a seat.
The poor PR person also sent it to those who were not invited. Sir Nicholas then replied all and revealed that seats worth £90 are not good enough for prominent critics. Eeek.
The story can be found here www.standard.co.uk/news/londoners-diary/londoners-diary-email-drama-stabs-critics-of-new-caesar-a3744571.html
Please note I am not one of the leading online reviewers, except in my mind.
I am not a prominent critic but I was invited, alas to stand in the immersive promenade pit rather than have a nice sit-down, ultimately the point of this blog is to showcase the best theatre at the best value. I never promised comfort to anyone or this blog would be called View from the Comfy Seat. The Pit seats offer a financially accessible option for those whose knees can hold out for 2 hours. It is a rare opportunity outside site-specific immersive productions or The Shakespeare’s Globe yard.
What is bizarre is that a lot of online bloggers found themselves on this ‘banned’ list despite having three press nights, with ample standing room. As much as many bloggers are in it for the nice seats and wine we also want to provide an independent view of shows. The prominence given to press is understandable but feels outdated, the majority of reviews are going up online. As Megan Vaughan said on Twitter ‘bad reviewers shouldn’t be a dog whistle for bloggers’. Being paid to critique doesn’t make you the best reviewer. Christopher Hart’s judging and inaccurate review of Rita, Sue and Bob Too in The Sunday Times is proof of that.
The biggest concern is that banned lists are probably commonplace in PR offices but bloggers cannot take it as a personal slight. The New Yorker is a prominent publication where the reviewer has to pay for their own ticket.
Julius Caesar is on until 15 April. Tickets from £15 (seated) and immersive standing tickets are £25 https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/julius-caesar/ and in cinemas as part of NT Live on 22 March