Right of Reply:: The writer-director Tim Luscombe berates the critics for their lack of Euro-vision

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Tim Luscombe's Eurovision opened on 10 November at the Vaudeville theatre in London and is closing on 27 November, making it the shortest West End run in recent history . . .

THE CRITICS

'An exceptionally queasy mixture of indisciplined farce and soggy sentiment . . . the trouble is, the Eurovision Song Contest is beyond parody.' Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph.

'The Eurovision Song Contest in - guess where? - Rome gets mixed up with all the classical mythology, the ghosts of Hadrian and his toyboy haunting a fey camp follower and his butchish pal. . . a slim idea . . . tortured so violently into a semblance of high campery and kitsch that it must violate every clause in the Geneva Convention.' Jack Tinker, Daily Mail.

'Utter bilge: it makes Hair look like Pirandello. Everybody gets all the foreign accents wrong, the humour bounces along merrily at sitcom level, full of slack gay jokes; the whole thing is as camp as a Guards regiment in tutus. If I were gay I would be offended.' John Peter, Sunday Times.

THE RESPONSE

It's as if they're reviewing it as Ibsen. It isn't a structured comedy but a self-mocking entertainment, not to be taken seriously. I set out to startle with a multitude of linked scenes because I'm frustrated by modern writing that only deals with one theme. The audience has accepted this zig-zagging; intellectual purists who call themselves critics seem totally unwilling to accept anything that bends structural rules. There's been so much attention paid to the camp, kitsch or naff side of the play - words I never use. This strikes me as unfair, because there are so many reflective moments: writing I'm really proud of. Also, six of the seven people on stage, although they're not defined by their sexuality, are gay: not banging on about coming out, family problems or Aids, but living happy, silly, mundane or exciting lives.

I know that everything I say is going to sound boastful and full of sour grapes, but I've stood at the back of the stalls and heard 700 people falling off their chairs every night. My gay friends and colleagues have all liked it. I realise the critics must record their own reaction, not the audience's, but what frightens me is the extreme polarity between the two here. If the West End is dead, it's because critics have strait-jacketed it into what is acceptable. I'm not saying it's a work of art: it's a bloody good piece of entertainment which delights the crowds, and there should be a place for that.'

(Photograph omitted)

Comments