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Hugh Grant: theater critic?

December 24, 2009 |  7:20 am

Grant Last week, we reported on Hugh Grant's outlandish story about purchasing an Andy Warhol painting while on a two-day drinking binge. Now the British actor has jumped from the world of visual arts to the theater by publicly voicing his opinion on the state of stage entertainment.

"I personally find going to the theatre is enjoyable about one time in 20. The other 19 you're just going, 'Oh, come on. Let's get to the end of it and have a drink'," Grant was quoted as saying in reports that have bounced around various news sites, including that of Britain's The Guardian.

Grant is hardly the first movie actor to express his less-than-enthusiastic opinion of live theater. Gabriel Byrne upset many theatergoers earlier this year when he recalled doing a play on Broadway and said: "I looked out into the audience and the theater was packed with well-to-do, white-haired people... Seriously, theater, as we’re doing it now, is dead.”

And Anthony Hopkins has been quoted as saying, "Theatrical hell is playing in some very uninspired production of a Shakespearean play at the Old Vic on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.”

Still, Grant's take on the state of theater provides an interesting counterpoint because, unlike Byrne or Hopkins, he hasn't spent much time performing on stage. Grant's career consists almost exclusively of film and television. To insult a profession you've never really mastered takes guts -- or maybe just plain old stupidity. 

At least one person seems to agree with Grant's assessment. A blogger for The Guardian wrote: "I love theatre with a passion that hinges on the nerdy, but even I'd say that the ratio of hits to misses put on in an average year is way lower than it should be. The itch for a production to end so you can do a Hugh and dash for the exit is all too familiar."

But the blogger also suggested that Grant's quality control as far as his own movie career goes could use some improvement, especially in light of the overwhelmingly negative critical reception of his latest film "Did You Hear About the Morgans?"

Having conquered the worlds of theater and painting, what artistic discipline is next for the 49-year-old Grant? He has already dipped his feet in classical music by playing Frederic Chopin in the movie "Impromptu."

Perhaps he would care to enlighten us about the state of architecture or ballet? Now more than ever, everyone's a critic and we're glad that Grant is making full use of that birthright.

-- David Ng

Photo: Hugh Grant. Credit: Jemal Countess / Getty Images

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