Anyone booking a theatre trip this summer should think twice. The stage has become a “pleasure-free zone in which snarling dramatists fight over their pet political causes”, says Lloyd Evans in The Spectator. The theatre’s current obsessions with “race hate, climate panic and psychological meltdown” are not remotely conducive to a fun post-lockdown night out. “Log on to the National Theatre and you’ll find a website that looks like a news channel.”
The lack of fun is not the only problem. By avoiding topics that don’t fit their “narrow and inflexible creed,” theatres fail to attract interest beyond a privileged elite. For all their talk of changing society, “the fact is the theatre has as much impact on society as jazz has on gardening”. We should dismiss claims of “audacious, radical, pluralist drama” and recognise that our theatres are run by “small-minded, ultra-conservative, brain-dead scaredy-cats”.
Keeping the ref on the sidelines
Iranian state TV cut away from live coverage of Sunday’s Premier League match between Tottenham and Manchester United more than 100 times, says The Upshot newsletter, to avoid showing female assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis. She was wearing shorts.