EIF: Reviewer or Critic?

My own association with the art world in all its forms in Edinburgh is as important to me today as it has been since I arrived here some years ago. Every year since I first became a member of the Festival Council and then an elected non-exexutive director (a role in which I served for the maximum 6 years) I have felt part of the EIF.

This year, 2015, is the first for me as a reviewer for Lothian Life. In past years I have usually been at the opening concert at the Usher Hall but this year, Antigone, performed at the Kings’ Theatre – of which I am a Patron – was ‘my opening night’. Opinions have been mixed: a great deal was anticipated and expected from Juliette Binoche in the starring role. Yes, she was good, and as it whole it was this powerful story came across to me as a tense, dramatic team work! But, for me, this was just the start.

The excitement and quality of experience has been in the variety of each event, whether from the Festival of Art or the Beethoven piano Sonatas. I have already admitted the final performance of the the sequence played by Rudolf Buchbinder gave me personal pleasure – not least because my own late father who was half-Swiss (Ludwig Christian Saam) was himself a great pianist!  Then again, ‘sheer fun’ was my feeling about the concert version of HMS Pinafore composed as an Opera by Gilbert and Sullivan and delivered on this occasion by a combination of excellent acting, singing and conducting.

How can a play be performed without words? Dragon at the Royal Lyceum Theatre proved simply it can be done. This fast-moving collaborative venture between the National Theatre of Scotland and the Chinese Tiajin People’s Arts Theatre was most skilful and caused me to realise yet again in behavoural terms ‘growing up’ in different cultures can be displayed on stage without a single spoken word being uttered.

Ballet has always been a great pleasure in my life and Zurich Ballet’s offering at the Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre which I saw on 29 August combined two very different styles and stories which I have reviewed on Lothian Life already. Again, this was a challenging and ‘avant garde’ spectacle.

It has been such a pleasure to see visual art more prominent this year and long may the contribution of Edinburgh’s Galleries continue for the benefit of artists and the high reputation of this cultured city. Finally – why did I choose as my title for this article ‘Reviewer or Critic? I have long believed the word ‘critic’ is a negative one, implying judgement, whereas I prefer ‘reviewer’ which does not always need to signify praise but may also suggest possible improvements and a way forward. I would love to know who agrees or disagrees with me about this!



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Christine Richard OBE FRSA

http://www.lothianlife.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Christine.jpg Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.

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