It’s always exciting to be quoted, as a critic, even if it’s just in the publicity material for an artwork you’ve reviewed. Although most critics will fiercely defend their position as being outside the marketing “ecosystem”, we’re usually more than happy for publicity departments to use our words and names if it will help to sell tickets for a show we believe is worthwhile. That is perhaps the greatest joy of arts criticism -- that you’re able to make recommendations to a wide audience and support the work you love.
But surprisingly frequently you find that you’ve been quoted in advertisements or other publicity materials for a work you reviewed negatively. It first happened to me in 2013, following a generally negative review of Sydney Theatre Company’s Fury (don’t let the star rating mislead you), in which I had positive things to say about Andrew Upton’s direction and the acting, but not much for Joanna Murray-Smith’s writing. If you look at the STC 2013 annual report, you’ll see that my one positive paragraph has been expertly excised and published under “what the critics said” on page 26. It struck me as a pretty odd choice, considering there were many more effusive reviews of Fury than mine and it’s the only instance I was quoted on that page, despite reviewing many other plays more positively over the course of 2013.