So why do I feel so queasy? Perhaps because the eye-catching initiatives of the theatrical "grand projets" of the last decade all too often now resemble the other debris of Blairism. Britain is littered with millennium buildings laying off staff, acts of regeneration that didn't trickle down and iconic buildings too iconic for their inner purpose. And as the big beasts of theatre call down more cash to service their vision, how sustainable is theatrical life beyond their charmed circles?...But when you hear the word "modernisation", reach for your garlic and crucifix. Keeping a theatre vital involves close attention to scale and history. Haworth Tompkins, the National's architect of choice, is wonderfully aware of this, as the Royal Court and Young Vic testify. There's a platonic essence in any theatre that transcends building and personnel. Decanting that spirit from one environment into another is the delicate task of the architect. Somehow that change has to take place without sacrificing the whiff of shabby gentility, the smell of spilt drinks and fag ends, that embodies the unimproved, dandyish world from which most theatres emerged. Hygienic rationalisation alone all too often turns living stages into dead multiplexes.