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Fledgling talent easily crushed

Lyn Gardner writes:

“Like almost every critic working when Max Stafford-Clark was artistic director of the Royal Court, I had my fair share of letters from him, but Max’s letters were always written more in sorrow than in anger. In fact, you could actually see the tear stains, which I found deeply touching.

I suspect that alcohol plays a part in many letters written in response to theatre reviews, and I imagine that the vast majority find their way into the bin rather than the post. But when I was starting out, I reviewed a play by a young woman playwright whose work I’d previously seen and enjoyed. Her next play was a disappointment and I said so bluntly in my review. One day I ran into her. “What are you working on?” I asked. “Nothing,” she said. “I haven’t written a word since I read your review.” Was it true? Maybe, maybe not. But it was a salutary lesson. Fledgling talent is easily crushed: I try to remember that whenever I sharpen my pencil.”

I garnered a 2* review from Lyn for Lost In Peru but I remember she had an uplifting line or two in there for the young playwright; not sure a 1* review would have completely stopped me in my tracks but it is good to think critics do some times think of the people they review.

More critics here.

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  • About me

    I'm a playwright and investment analyst. I have a broad range of interests: food, gardening, innovation & intellectual property, sustainability, architecture & design, writing and the arts. I sit on the board of Talawa Theatre Company and advise a CIS investment trust on socially responsible investments.

  • Recent Work

    Recent plays include, for theatre: Nakamitsu, Yellow Gentlemen, Lost in Peru, Lemon Love. For radio: Places in Between (R4), Patent Breaking Life Saving (WS).

  • Nakamitsu

  • Yellow Gentlemen