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Sian Thomas: 'A bad review can kill you'

The actress spoke about the difficulties of reading write-ups

Actress Sian Thomas
(© Dan Wooller)

Sian Thomas has spoken out about the negatives and positives of reading reviews as an actor.

Speaking at Mountview's Everyone's a Critic panel discussion, the actress explained how she used to read reviews when she was younger: "I didn't know any better," she said "I just thought, 'I'm in the paper'!"

She went on: "If you get a good review, it's so thrilling, but quite soon it does begin to get into your head. But if it is a bad review, it can kill you.

"Now I don't read them till after [the show]. It depends on my mood and how I felt about the play [as to whether I actually end up reading them]."

She added that, as an actor, it was possible to learn from a review: "From a really good review, you can actually learn. But it is painful to read about yourself when it's bad."

The panel also discussed why directors were the most likely to respond to a review by writing to the critic: "Directors are a very insecure breed," Thomas said, "[Directing] is a shortcut to power... a quick means to power in the way that writing and acting isn't."

She added: "Directors are very lonely, they are always on their own, writers are too, but other directors don't know what other rehearsal rooms are like. It's a very, very lonely job as a director and I think that is part of why they take it so personally."

On the same panel, Guardian critic Michael Billington spoke out about how the star rating system was "extremely unhelpful". "It's a very good system for restaurants, in a strange town, hotels, but for a work of art it is extremely unhelpful because works of arts are enigmatic, complicated things" he said.

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