Censoring the critic is wrong

Thursday, 23rd June

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde has proved popular at the open air theatre’s summer season [Pamela Raith]

• IRONIC that the CNJ boasts in its masthead being “The independent London paper” yet throws its weight in an editorial (June 16) behind the sinister McCarthyite censorship being imposed by the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre on any critic whose views they dislike – in this case Quentin Letts of The Sunday Times, Rude theatre critics warned they won’t be invited back.

Letts is fully entitled to “moan about the casting of fuller-bodied, non-binary actors” which turned a production of Legally Blonde into a “relentlessly zingy assertion of minority pride”.

The critic’s job, which Letts does admirably, is to deliver a judgment without fear and favour and not be hidebound by the skewed leftist agenda being peddled by so many (mainly white, middle class) liberals in theatre-land.

The CNJ can dismiss it as “the wearisome whingeing of the ‘unwoke’,” but why shouldn’t theatre-goers be appraised on what’s on offer, and then make up their own minds whether to shell out stupefyingly high seat prices for often mediocre, right-on, productions?

The late, great, actor Dennis Waterman neatly summed up the current mindset of his profession: “I hate political correctness. It makes liars out of everyone.”

And if it’s viewed as an assault on “colour blind casting” then I look forward to a talented black singer portraying Amy Winehouse in any stage play about her life, and any talented white, Asian, or Chinese actor in the biopic roles of legendary black performers.

Or is it just a one-way traffic in diversity?


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