Good week / Bad week

Bad week for Greenland. The new play from the National Theatre received an unanimous thumbs down from bloggers who saw it on its opening preview. The critics will, of course, love it.

Good week for Spider Man. The Guardian has launched into a spirited defence this week of the troubled irresponsible deathtrap embarrassment to professional theatre. First up is an interview with “the man who made spidey fly” (sometimes) – which is a bit like interviewing the man who made the Titanic float. But that’s not all – we also get an opinion piece from Toby Lichtig who thinks all those nasty bloggers and critics are being very mean by reviewing a production which “doesn’t yet exist” (despite selling high priced preview tickets which are indistinguishable from full price non-preview tickets). But hey, come on people, “judge the artwork, not the process.”

Bad week for the West End. Revenues were up 1.46% for 2010. Much of the press read this to be superb news, but looking through the numbers reveals that this improved headline figure masks falling attendance numbers and higher prices. The average ticket now costs £36.20, up from £35.40 in 2009 and £31.17 in 2005. Average attendance per performance was also down.  So: fewer people seeing more expensive theatre in emptier houses. Crack open the champagne to theatre’s ongoing golden age!

Good week for Nicholas Hytner. He’s turned into a badass apparently.

Bad week for Newcastle. The RSC has cancelled their season in Newcastle. The reason? I’m afraid there’s no money left.

Good week for Stalin. Simon Russell Beale will play him in a new production at the National Theatre. The play is written by John Hodge who Hytner described, in an endorsement which has more than a touch of the back of the hand about it, as “a wonderful dramatist even though he comes from the world of film and TV”.