London theatre blogs – are we too polite?

Chris Wilkinson over at The Guardian has kindly linked to my Edinburgh Fringe tips.

As such, I’m basically now famous and spend most of my time debating who should direct the film of my life. Obviously Nora Ephron has the form but I would love to see Guy Richie’s take on the scene where Rupert Goold (Jason Stratham) and Nick Hytner (Vinnie Jones) dangle me off the Lyttelton fly tower to extract a positive review for Earthquakes in London.

In my other spare time (I’ve quit my job to focus fully on blogging) I’ve been pressing refresh on my stats page (turns out spambots are big Guardian readers!) and wondering about the state of British theatre blogging.

Wilkinson’s weekly Guardian post Noises Off “rounds up all the latest from theatre blogs worldwide”, including a good set of the American ones – which seem to spend most of their time sniping at each other.

Telescope from London to New York
I haven’t really investigated them much previously, but it turns out that the typical New York theatre blog is a combination of MA Theatre Studies thesis, passive/aggressive compliments about your colleagues tinged with paranoia at their motives and snide speculation about who had to sleep with who to get on the board of some obscure off Broadway fringe theatre or other. It’s just one example, but my personal favourite post can be reached by googling the words “Hey, jerk-off. Fuck you. No, really, fuck you”.

Here in London, where blogging is primarily from the perspective of amateur critic rather than practitioner, these sort of emotional highs are rarely reached. The closest the London theatre blogosphere comes to controversy is spirited debate about unreserved seating policies or the repercussions of a critic getting nudged on the back of the head. There’s nobody who engages in the sort of self-involved hand wringing that the Macbooks of New York are used to.

Does this indicate a quiet confidence on the part of the London theatre community? A focus on the work and audience experience rather than the petty politics and ‘who said what’?

Or are we failing in our duty to contribute to the conversation about the future of art? Does our refusal to engage indicate a lack of passion? Are our theatremakers woefully absent from the online community?

Or am I wrong? Are there in fact high-minded discussions about the intricacies of the dramatic arts or hardened vendettas pursued in all caps in comments sections, which I’ve just never come across?

Your thoughts welcome below. No autograph requests please.