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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

LETTER FROM TIM WELLS (article first published : 2002-03-11)

Dear Artists and interested others!

Mike Tarr's response to my cries for help in this desperate state of irony the Durban theatre scene exists made me laugh out loud!

When it is your JOB to review theatre, to promote what little is on offer in the Arts, to expect THANKS for your reporting is just plain naive. I would see it as quite inappropriate as practise for an artist to phone up a reviewer to thank them for good press! Oh these small town Durban blues! Laughable!

In the past, including "when the going was good", it has been pretty much pot luck as to what gets dished out in the way of those farcical ratings, which have been shown to be completely apocryphal - high class work glossed over and absolutely average cabaret being awarded sparkling ratings! What could "too fair" possibly mean? This calls to question the integrity of Mr Tarr's offerings. You can NEVER do too much to boost the little industry we have in the KZN Arts world!

I will gladly throw out from "my scrapbook" any past "rave reviews" having arrived at the liberating point of realisation that Mr Tarr's opinion is of no consequence to me. With heavy-handed disregard, he bashed out a review of our recent show that was so obviously designed to keep people away from our WORK (thankfully, he did not succeed), now claiming to know how the songs should be presented, having seen the original material. I admit, I never saw Sinatra live, but I have a decent CD player and have listened and listened to him, done my homework! I know how to sing songs.

To add insult to injury, Mr Tarr sees fit to quote a colleague and turn something light and humorous into an underhanded and quite sinister insinuation. Is he implying that if one doesn't keep up the buddy-buddy-boykie relationship with so-called critics, one's career is in danger? To say the least, that enrages me. I have news for you. I choose to work with people I want to work with, while operating a one man business of making commercials. I DO WORK IN THIS TOWN and WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO UNTIL I DECIDE TO RETIRE!

In spite of the two daily papers' perspective on Under My Skin, the show has done amazingly well and our plentiful audiences gave us positive feedback beyond expectation. We are currently receiving requests to take the show elsewhere.

I am not interested in any further debate on the issue as there are always going to be points of view that will never be reconciled, but I would like to suggest that as Arts Editor, Mr Tarr does the responsible thing and take his job seriously by employing someone with theatre qualifications to write theatre reviews. NOT as a favour to artists, but because it's his responsibility. FOR THAT I WILL GLADLY THANK HIM!

Yours in truth and ART once more, Tim Wells

P.S. Mr Tarr misread my initial email when he assumes he will not be invited to any future shows I am involved in. I simply said that any independent production which I mount will not include on the guest list B.Suter or Mike Tarr. Guest lists for other future productions I may be involved in are at the discretion of the producers of those shows.




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