Hytner lays into the critics and De Jongh fights back. The knives are out.
OK, so they’re probably butter knives but the Whingers love a good scrap and are devastated that the story has broken while they are supposed to be working and their evening is due to be spent in a theatre. What a waste of an evening!
Anyway, in a nutshell:
1. Artistic director of the National Theatre Nicholas Hytner brands the critics “dead white males” in today’s Times:
Nicholas Hytner alleges that veteran reviewers are sometimes unable to see past female directors’ gender when reviewing their plays and also “snigger” at lesbian directors.
He told The Times: “They would be horrified by the accusation, but I’m afraid I’m making it. I think it’s fair enough to say that too many of the theatre critics are dead white men. They don’t know it’s happened to them but it has.”
2. Dead white man Nicholas de Jongh describes this “bilious outburst” as “an alarming and significant event” in today’s Evening Standard:
It marks the declaration of war on the part of the director of our flagship theatrical institution. It poisons the theatrical air. It sets up an embattled them-and-us attitude that will help no one.
3. As Mr Eldridge reports:
Billington has taken offence at the Guardian Blog here – while brilliantly the blog has also voiced Lyn Gardner’s support for Hytner – and a comment on the debate from Thea Sharrock.
before taking the opportunity to have a pop at his bete noir Quentin Letts:
I’d rather have an experienced critic than a dufus celebrity critic like Quentin Letts any day
The Whingers, as you can imagine, are like pigs in muck, although we are a bit mystified by the piece on Encore Theatre Magazine which accuses de Jongh of “seeming to watch shows only to furnish himself with caustic remarks”. What’s wrong with that?
Anyway, we have so much to contribute to the debate and will report back just as soon as we can.
We’re praying that this show is one that runs and runs!
Update: Here’s our last word on the subject.