The Evil Imp


Conventional wisdom goes that if your show is not very successful, in terms of audience numbers, then the reason must be that your show is either no good or the art form is not very popular. Conventional wisdom is of course almost always completely wrong. If people don’t come and see your show then how do they know your show is no good to begin with?

With that in mind let us turn to the practice of annoying “pull quoting”, the process of taking selected sentences from reviews and slapping them on posters and flyers.

The hope is of course that the general public, in their as yet unproven infinite wisdom, will come along to your show because some hack in the local press or the arts pages of the Guardian, The Times, et-al has told them that they probably should.

Of course the tactic is reliant on the aforementioned reviewers having something nice to say about a particular work. If they don’t your company can just say; “reviewers, what do they know?”

Except you can’t say that because you have lent credibility to those reviewers by including their hackery on your own publicity materials and you can’t have it both ways. So we say, here in TheLab™, let’s kick them to the kerb.

The type of people that use a review to decide whether or not to go and see a particular show will, in all likelihood, read the reviews themselves and not pay too much attention to pull quotes so no loss there.

People who base their ticket buying decisions on pull quotes alone are literally too stupid for even us to make fun of so let them languish in their wilful ignorance, you’re probably better off without them.

Everybody else is up for grabs (and those people are probably in the majority).

Artistic taste is a personal thing, no doubt about it. Smart people know that in order to like or dislike something then you have to know something about that thing in the first place. In fact, never mind like or dislike how about being able to make an informed decision about what you do and do not want to see.

When it comes to movies, dance performances, theatre and music the proof is in the viewing and hearing so it might be a better idea to encourage people to actually experience things for themselves rather than encouraging them to listen to the subjective views of a press hack.

Here in TheLab™ we’re not big fans of the work from Random Dance Company but if you want to know what it’s like for yourself, then go and see it for yourself (use that in a pull quote! Ed!)

The less professional companies use pull quotes from critics the less credibility those critics will have. The opinions they offer, after all, are just individual subjective ones. The same goes for reviews from audience members (which we see with alarming regularity these days).

The arts is a profession of individual expression and creativity, so why do we ask less of the prospective audience?