A member of the ill-fated Gone With the Wind cast in London offers a pre-postmortem.
I sympathize. Really, I do. And this blog tries to make a point of not publishing a review of a show till it officially opens. (Even if I could only see it in previews. In which case I do note that's what I saw.)
Previews are meant to be the point in a production's life where a show can be tried out before an audience, to see what works and what doesn't. They used to be an intimate affair, and there was a certain bond of trust between the performers and an audience who had paid less to see the unpolished version. But in the internet age, those days are over.Before we had even left the theatre on the night of our first preview, our fate was sealed. I went home that night to read damning comments on a blog called the West End Whingers: the knives were already out, sharp and bloody.
Anyway, we all know he's really talking about "chatrooms" not criticism blogs.
But on behalf of the internets at large, let me propose a treaty, theatre producers and companies: You don't charge full price for "previews" and we won't review them. How's that?
It's amazing when you think about it, the gradual practice over the years of raising preview prices up to par. With that--and the practice of "press nights" pre-opening anyway--isn't the term close to meaningless?
And the chutzpah of asking audiences to pay full price for what is sometimes very much a work in progress? Priceless.