There aren’t many rules when it comes to reviewing. Don’t libel anyone, naturally, or ridicule them. Apart from the fact that a modicum of sensitivity should be applied, lawsuits may follow. There’s also another rule I follow: you review the show, not the audience.


It’s an odd fact that audiences often become an identifiable whole despite coming into the theatre like Noah’s animals, two by two. Coalescing into one, this groupdoesn’t laugh at all or it laughs too much. Collectively it just doesn’t seem to understand the deep significance of the piece or clearly hates what is an extraordinary theatrical achievement, or whatever. Whatever indeed. Audience members have paid their money and can react as they please. The critic should concentrate on the stage and write about what happens there.

That said, I now wish to break the rule. There is pent-up emotion to release. Audiences! Who’d want to be anywhere near them?  

Top of my hate list is the person – well, I say person; it’s almost always a woman – who wears their hair piled...