He finds that the offerings are quite tried and true, if even a bit creaky and boring, (one is a concept-free Measure for Measure.) Maybe, he suggests, the radical type of work for which the fringe used to serve as ahome has become fully assimilated into the mainstream.
On the other hand, perhaps staging old-fashioned work is now a radical gesture. It could certainly be argued that if the National and Royal Court are no longer interested in straightforward productions of Shakespeare or revivals of political drama from the 70s, there should be a place for those too.
And yet it rankles. I have sympathy for the arguments in favour of plurality and, while disagreeing profoundly, I do understand the point of view which suggests "innovation" and "experiment" are simply a set of fashionable conventions. I can also see how producers might be wary of losing money on too-radical programming. But it still bothers me that the fringe now often seems to be less forward-looking in terms of staging and material than the Lyttleton or the Gielgud. Its receiving houses are all too often home to productions by directors seeking to showcase their mainstream talents and its producing houses play it safe with solid revivals of tried and tested classics.