Fri 22 November 2019
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Such tweet sorrow: Twitter catches critics in web of emotion
The confessional world of micro-blogging could be instrumental in forcing theatre reviewers to inject some feeling into their work

Over the weekend, Guardian critic Lyn Gardner tweeted her response to a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. "I actually wept at Bolton Octagon last night when Blanche DuBois throws herself on the kindness of strangers," she said. Two things are significant about this. The first is that before Twitter came along, no reviewer would have dreamed of assessing a play in 140 characters. The second is the personally revealing nature of what she said.

Something about the informality of Twitter makes an admission of weeping seem acceptable. To do the same in a formal newspaper review, by contrast, is not unheard of but certainly more rare. In her published review Gardner saves the emotion until last, giving an enthusiastic but essentially level-headed analysis before letting slip, in her final sentence, that she "wept as Blanche walked from the house". It makes a powerful pay-off, but isn't it interesting that the first line of a tweet becomes the last line of a review?

To carry on reading

The Guardian

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