London theatre news round up and thoughts (w/e Feb 10)
James McAvoy's Macbeth - first thoughts

Safe bets vs creativity in London theatre

The Guardian's theatre critic Lyn Gardner wrote an interesting blog post today questioning whether arts funding cuts mean we are going the way of Broadway where the big stars draw in the crowds and wield enough influence to dictate which roles they play. It is a safe bet for producer and for the star's reputation.

The big West End theatres generally play it safe - they have to, they are businesses after all and need many bums on seats. Less well know work, with a less starry cast that makes it into the big theatres has generally had a successful run at one of the smaller producing theatres, like the Royal Court.

For an obsessive like me, the West End is on the periphery of what is exciting about going to the theatre. It is at the smaller venues, producing varied work with varied casts where I prefer to get my kicks.

I think the funding cuts are going to hit some of the smallest theatres the hardest those that already struggle and it would be a terrible shame to lose any venue, that produces good work, because of Government cuts.

However, if it was to get to a point when the likes of the Royal Court, Almeida Theatre and to a certain extent the National felt they had to parachute in big names, into safe plays in order to be a success then I really would worry about the state of London's theatre.