I have now dipped my toe in the theatre critic pool for long enough to have a nice feel of how it works. Over the last five years my experiences have varied but each time I go I am always learning new dos and don'ts of being a theatre crtic. So as someone still at the beginning of their career path, I thought I might share what I've learnt so far for anyone else who might be considering becoming a theatre critic.
Firstly, you have to be willing to give every genre of theatre a try. This might seem like an obvious point but if you're like me, you know that you are more likely to be drawn in by one type of performance (I can't resist a good flashy musical). I have actually seen a lot of fantastic shows that I might have dismissed other wise and I gave a chance to genres I didn't think I'd like and was surprised by just how much I enjoyed it.
Secondly, there is no right way of writing a review. The hardest experience I have had is writing my own blog -I don't have a style guide. The important thing is to be honest and just write well - which if you're looking into a career like this, you probably are a decent writer. I developed my own style over time. I saw which of my reviews had the most views and I had feedback from friends and family the whole time. I also would read other reviews by well established critics and took note of the most common things that they look at in a show.
On the note of writing style, there is however a right and wrong way of writing something. You should be completely honest and you are definitely entitled to your own opinion but don't forget you are writing about human beings. If you don't like a show then say so but say what you thought wasn't so great rather than just saying you didn't like it. Your readers might find that something you didn't like is something that they particularly like. I have said in past reviews when I thought an actor was a bit weak in their performance but be tactful. Don't say "They had less appeal than week old fish" It's not funny, it's not clever and it's just plain rude.
Thirdly, going to the theatre is expensive so get your name out there by applying to companies such as, A younger theatre and make use of any contacts you can to help you go see more shows. The more you're out there posting and mingling with other critics, the more noticeable you will become and who knows where that might lead?