|Answer - most definitely affirmative. Exactly what purpose do they serve other than to trot out their own home grown brand of intellectual arrogance which bears absolutely no relation to the real world serving only to oil their own insatiable self importance!|
I say this not from the position of having to bear the brunt of a critical review - I've always refused to read them or to allow a critic to see any of my shows unless they purchase a ticket along with everyone else. And that's a good tip to have them give you a wide berth.
Some months ago there were rumblings of discontent within the theatre press - The Stage etc - about the perceived power of the critics to close shows most notably those vying for fame and fortune in the West End. From what I remember a number of organisations were pointing out - shock horror - what everyone already knew that these anachronistic critics survive by spewed a load of old b******s which is almost unilaterally at odds with the way the work was received by the audience. I've sat through shows that I and several hundred fellow audience members have thoroughly enjoyed only to hear how the write up has been an outburst of vitriol and disdain. Similarly I've sat through "art" along with 25 others all equally bored, bemused but not bothered to find the show advocated as a 'must see'! Scary or what?
Anyway suffice to say that even estate agents and bankers do serve some purpose in this world we lease but theatre critics......pull the other one!!!!