It all started innocently enough. Allison Croggan went and saw (and hated) a show in Australia and couldn't understand why a major critic liked it. She wrote about her reaction here. In said post, she writes that overpraising can be just as bad for a company as unfairly slamming them, which was the main point of the post, and goes on to some probably unnecessary invective about the piece that's beside the point. Then, the director of the piece (Chris Bendall) wrote Allison, she apologized for the invective but not the post.
And then the intrepid Ben Ellis wrote about it on his blog here. And now updates the post to inform us:
UPDATE: Chris Bendall has emailed me to say that this discussion is affecting audiences. For goodness' sake, people, PLEASE SEE THE SHOW. It evidently possesses the power to generate heated responses - so what are you waiting for?
This is, quite simply, ridiculous. Blogs don't have that kind of impact on audiences. They don't in the States, they don't in England, and I'm pretty damn sure they don't anywhere else, either. Allison Croggan certainly isn't some mystically powerful figure in the theatre blogosphere, commanding huge audiences and legions of admirers (although a boy can dream...). She is a well respected, well read blogger about theatre.
I really hope that one day this theatrical blogosphere will be able to raise awareness of things going on in the theatre, and build audiences (the whole bloggers night thing and what not). But we're in the process of building that. We're no where near actually realizing that goal yet.
I think there are a number of simpler, Occam's-Razor type explanations for lackluster attendence. Amongst them:
1) It's called Requiem for the 20th Century Part 1.
2) It's long.
3) Perhaps Allison's view of the show is shared by some major segment of the audience and bad word of mouth is ensuing
4) Maybe the show is too challenging for a mainstream audience
and on and on and on (I say this knowing nothing about the show). But to claim that an argument about a show in the blogosphere is hurting its audience strikes me as (quite frankly) silly. I would think that, knowing what little I do of our readership, a big argument about a show in the blogosphere would be likely to boost attenddance.