RSC blast Daily Mail’s ‘racist’ review of new Swan show

The RSC has announced the closure of all its venues this evening, Monday, March 16

THE Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has hit back at a Daily Mail review of its new show, The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, branding it ‘racist’.

Quentin Letts appeared to like the production of Mary Pix’s comedy of manners at The Swan, giving it three stars.

But midway through his review, he wrote: “Was Mr Wringer cast because he is black? If so, the RSC’s clunking approach to politically correct casting has again weakened its stage product.

“I suppose its managers are under pressure from the Arts Council to tick inclusiveness boxes, but at some point they are going to have to decide if their core business is drama or social engineering.”

Experienced Shakespeare actor Leo Wringer plays Elder Clerimont.

The RSC’s artistic director, Gregory Doran, and executive director, Catherine Mallyon, issued a statement on Saturday night in response.

“We are shocked and deeply troubled by Quentin Letts’ review of The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich in which he seems to demonstrate a blatantly racist attitude to a member of the cast.

“We are very proud to be working with every member of the company each of whom has been asked to join us in Stratford because we value and recognise their unique skills and talents.

“Our approach to casting is to seek the most exciting individual for each role and in doing so to create a repertoire of the highest quality.

“We are proud that this ensures our casts are also representative of the diversity of the United Kingdom, that the audiences which we serve are able to recognise themselves on stage and that our work is made and influenced by the most creative range of voices and approaches.

“We are thrilled by the response to The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, a play by Mary Pix neglected in the last 300 years and now receiving the warmest of responses from audiences and critics alike.

“We salute the whole cast for their excellent work on the production, support them unreservedly and hope they can begin to put behind them this ugly and prejudiced commentary.”

Fantastic Follies runs until 14th June.

Read the Herald’s review in the current edition, download a copy HERE.

  • Steve Blackman

    This sort of crass comment is typical of the Daily Mail. It is a rag which should be outlawed in our society.

    • Hugh Janus

      Wow. Somebody actually said that. No prizes for guessing whose side you’re on in the wider censorship, locking people up for saying stuff, stakes, then?

  • Gina While

    The RSC should take the same action with the Heil (The Paper that supported Our Boys in Black in the 1930s) as Liverpudlians do with the Scum since Hillsborough.

  • imustbeoldiwearacap

    Quentin Letts is just a miserable little toad, who already has history for mocking the disabled. It does not surprise me that he has resorted to racism to satisfy the prejudices of Paul Dacre.

  • JD Hogg

    First of all, S-H, the Mail article states the author thought Wringer was miscast due to his style not befitting the character –
    “He is too cool, too mature, not chinless or daft or funny enough.”
    Did you not think that relevant? Quite the omission I think.

    Now onto the thorny issue – only the daftest lefty wet would think that race played no part whatsoever in the casting – of course it did. The faux-outraged statement from the RSC confirmed as much:

    “Our approach to casting is to seek the most exciting individual for each role and in doing so to create a repertoire of the highest quality.”
    We are proud that this ensures our casts are also representative of the diversity of the United Kingdom”

    Please tell me how that works? How can the casting be meritocratic while ensuring it is ‘representative of the diversity of the United Kingdom’ (pass the bucket)? It can’t, that’s not how meritocracy works.

    So please, let’s stop pretending. The RSC is run by the same types of quota-driven people that run the likes of the BBC. We know what they are doing, I would just appreciate if they didn’t lie to our faces about it.

    • Stephen Whitaker

      What’s the point of telling us that you know what they’re doing and then not having the guts to spell it out and tell us what is wrong with what they are doing?

      • JD Hogg

        Well I really think I did spell it out…

        For clarity – the diversity agenda is anti-white. It’s as simple as that.

    • John Carnie

      It is quite OK to critique the performance of an actor, but then to bring race into the criticism marks of someone pandering to the prejudices of his readers.

    • Aengil

      Genuinely casting by merit in a field such as this does ensure casts are representative of the diversity of the UK. Because acting ability is independent of skin colour. Why would you think otherwise? Oh.

      • JD Hogg

        >Because acting ability is independent of skin colour.

        What on earth makes you think that?! What a bizarre assertion. For what it’s worth I think it’s perfectly possible that some non-white group may have the highest average acting ability, I have no opinion either way. But to say without evidence ‘everyone is the same’, when there is plenty of evidence we are not, is extraordinary.

        Please explain why is it fine to accept blacks can run faster and box harder than whites, yet any measurement that may favour whites is explicitly off limits?

        • Aengil

          What on Earth makes me think acting ability is independent of skin colour? Three things. Reason, observation, and not being a screaming racist.

          If you want to assert that acting ability is dependent on skin colour, the burden on proof is on you to provide evidence and reason. That’s how that works. But since you have “no opinion” on the matter, you presumably can’t, so we’re done here.

          Oh, and you might want to work on your English comprehension. Stating “X is independent of Y” does not imply that everything is independent of Y.

          • JD Hogg

            Given that I have shown there is a link between race and average ability in one field, I find it entirely unreasonable to claim no link in another. You asserted there was no link, the burden is on you.

            How nice for you to not be a racist; I’m sure they’ll take that into consideration when you are being pushed aside to make room for non-whites. I’m sure you’ll be delighted!

          • Aengil

            If I assert that dogs can’t levitate, and you want to argue about it, the burden is not on me; you’d need to produce a levitating dog. Arguing that you can show that dogs do other unrelated things does not change that.

            And given that you’ve demonstrated a distinct lack of reasoning ability and comprehension skills, what you find unreasonable or not is neither here nor there. What you have shown is an alarming degree of, at best, paranoia, and at worst, outright racism. I’m sure you’re delighted.

          • JD Hogg

            I see you don’t answer my questions and your similie is cringingly bad! Your attacks on my intelligence substitute for substantive arguments; how big, how clever.
            I like that you call it paranoia – as a white man I, and many I talk to, are acutely aware of a daily drumbeat of stories from the MSM and the rest of the elite, constantly beating us with constant denouncements of sexism and racism (gender pay-gap, islamophobia, institutional racism, white privilege etc). I’m tired of it. Do you not see it too? Are you the sort that thinks that the stabbing epidemic in London is because of youth clubs closing?

          • Aengil

            The simile is accurate. Probably why you don’t like it.

            And I’m pointing out that your arguments are incoherent, due to your specific failures to comprehend what you’re responding to, and demonstrably poor reasoning. Those are entirely relevant to your arguments.

            As for the rest, if you take denouncements of sexism, racism and islamophobia as beating you personally, that says far more about you than it does anything else.

  • The Lone Ranger

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about Shakespeare is a fraud even his burial is a fraud? who cares who is cast good luck to Leo.

    • wicked messenger

      when exactly did Shakespeare write this play? must be one of his lesser-known comedies.