16 NOVEMBER 2002, Page 38

Critical barrier

From Valentine Guinness Sir: Congratulations to Toby Young (Is it curtains for the theatre?'. 9 November) for his excellent piece on the state of theatre in this country.

I was interested to see Rhoda Koenig quoted as wanting more anti-Thatcher plays on the British stage. In my view, Miss Koenig's attitude represents the problem, not the solution.

When a fringe production of my first play, Helping Hany. was mounted in 2001, Miss Koenig wrote a review for the Independent. Unlike most of the other critics, she obviously hated the show. However, instead of explaining to her readers why they might not want to go, she launched into an extraordinary and vitriolic diatribe directed at myself and my family background. She even discussed in minute detail the companies and individuals who had advertised in our small programme.

As I have never met Miss Koenig, I was amazed by this personal attack. The rest of the play's company were unanimous in that it was the nastiest and most unprofessional review they had seen in all their years in the theatre.

By viewing all human endeavour through a prism of bitter political prejudice. Miss Koenig typifies the negative style of so much of the British media. Confronted with this, new writers don't have a chance.

Valentine Guinness

London W2