I’m not one for copious notes. I prefer to watch what I’m there to review with a companion who’ll bounce ideas off me after, over a glass of wine after (or two, then maybe down the late night bar…) I perfected the “art” of scrawling notes in the dark in at Resolution! where each night 3 pieces of dance would pass before my eyes, some of it bad beyond belief, occasionally some of it really interesting and excellent. Without fail I’d get home with some pages of benighted script but that paired with my memory of what I’d seen and the emotions it had evoked would get me to a set of concise words that would respectably represent what had gone on and offer a valid opinion.
Never once did I need to use my mobile phone as an emergency light source so I could scribble continuously throughout a performance, making note of each change of scene and movement, rustling my pages as I went.
Yes, this is what the reviewer sat next to me at Sadlers Wells did tonight. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t Clement Crisp or anyone who could reasonably claim they were writing the most important critique of all time. The person on the other side of her had the gumption to say ‘do you mind, that’s really distracting’ and yet the offender paid no heed. There’s a reason you’re asked to turn your mobile phone off at performances and it’s not just about the ringtone (although, inevitably, there was one of those going off too).
I relinquished my first circle press seat at the interval and went and sat at the back of the stalls instead. It was the right move.