I am writing on behalf of the Honourable Alliance of Theatre Critics for Real Newspapers to express my concern about your organisation’s recent appointment to the role of Theatre Critic in Chief.
This is a role which I sometimes compare in importance to that of Pontifex Maximus in the Roman republic, acting as a spiritual leader to the nation’s cultural heart and defender of the the country’s (if not the world’s) intellectual and dramatic canon. We Theatre Critics do not exaggerate if we proudly consider ourselves to be the descendents of theatrical apostles, guarding the pearly proscenium gates and weighing the merits of Osborne and Rattigan (to name but two of our promising young playwrights) for the good of our flock.
This is a role which requires years if not decades of training. I, for instance, spent twenty-seven years subbing for Gerald Nunneley before I was allowed my own byline in 1952 and even then it was not until I had seen eighty productions of Hamlet in Sheffield that I was allowed out of the provinces to London.
Being a Theatre Critic is not something that any Tom, Dick or Libby can just pick up through something as facile as a few decades as a journalist and a lifelong love of the theatre.
This is a crucial time for Real Newspapers. At present the barbarian forces of so-called bloggers, often funded by overseas communist regimes, batter against our defences like waves against the cliffs, but internal strife (such as has been prompted by this appointment) can only weaken us in the good fight. Some of the rumours I have heard about this band of disreputable brigands would chill you to the bone: for instance, those West End Whingers regularly arrive to performances without ties and I have it on good authority that the author of Life in the Cheap Seats didn’t even go to Oxbridge.
I trust you see my point.
Honourable Alliance of Theatre Critics for Real Newspapers