Reviews Policy

Our Reviews Policy

The review team are working writers, journalists, directors, dramaturgs and actors. The reviewers are active in the field of theatre and seek to review shows representing innovation, challenge, competence and creativity in the field. We do not seek to review all shows in a Fringe festival. Choice is often intuitive.

Our aim is to find good shows and review them. We keep our ear to the ground. We do our research. We do not review at random. Most of these reviews have involved getting a second opinion within the review team.

We seek only good shows. If we find a show that is less than RECOMMENDED, we offer the review privately to the performing company.artist. We do not publish it to our site. Why? Because FringeReview has decided to be a publication that provides reviews of RECOMMENDED theatre – shows that are, in our view, worth seeing.

We may be the only review a show receives and it is not our aim to ruin the chances of shows in Fringe Theatre. So, we offer to remain silent on shows deemed by us to be less than good.

This is a site to find theatre we believe to be good or better. This is a site of recommendations.

In general…

FringeReview prides itself on attempting to review the theatre we see: as writing, as performance, as staging, as design and production. Subjectivity will always play into a review and we want audiences to know what a reviewer personally thought or felt about  a show. However, the rating is set through an attempt to detach from that personal reaction of “taste” and to focus as objectively as possible on the quality of the show as a piece of assessed theatre – its skill, it professionalism, its accomplishment as performing art. We don’t claim to be objective, but we do try to be, and we think it’s worth trying.

Conflict of Interest

Our reviewers do not review shows in which there is a clear conflict of interest with current , future or recently completed work projects in which they have an involvement. They do not review shows that compete for the same time/date slot as a show they are involved with. They do not review shows in which there are people they are have a current significant social or professional connection with. This is self-policed but the FringeReview editors will take direct action against any reviewers breaking this code of conduct.

The Proverbial “Star Ratings

We have dropped the use of star ratings as of August 2013, though reserve the right to still use them if necessary.

A NOT RECOMMENDED review represents a poor example of the genre. It is not recommended by us for its content/writing or stage craft/direction. Constructive feedback is offered as to why the show is poor and how it could be improved. The writing and staging may be unclear, the ideas not realised, the performances poor in terms of impact and demonstrated stage skills. The show may be confusing to the audience, technical aspects may be clumsy. The show may have merits and may have been appreciated by part of the audience, in which case, this is reflected in the review. A less than recommended review is not published but will be offered, in any case as private feedback if the performing company is open to the feedback.

A RECOMMENDED review is GOOD to VERY GOOD. The show is recommended by us either for its strong content/writing or stage craft/direction. As a RECOMMENDED show,  the show is strong in areas, not so strong in others. The review reflects this and presents reasons why an audience might want to see the show. We pick up on audience feedback.

A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED show is excellent. The show falls short of being an example of the best in the field, either in terms of writing and/or performance/direction/stage craft. The show is excellent though, well worth seeing and has some excellent qualities. The review reflects this and presents reasons why we strongly recommend an audience might want to see the show.

We pick up on audience feedback. The show could improve and may be early in its development, showing real promise and achieving high standards. It may lack that “something really special” but be a good example of a very professionally written and staged piece of theatre. Acting , directing and writing is of a very high standard.

This could be an excellent show that lacks some originality, or simply needs that “final push” towards being breathtaking, awe-inspiring, wonderful theatre.

An OUTSTANDING is a show that is beyond EXCELLENT. It shows consistently impressive quality in writing, staging, design , performance and direction. It represents the best in the field. It’s innovative, different, perhaps ground -breaking.

An outstanding show may also contain constructive feedback, for we believe in innovation in art. An outstanding review may also be achieved if the show doesn’t achieve excellence in all areas but still profoundly excels in certain areas, especially if it breaks new ground in a way that leaves an audience in awe. We seek audience feedback of course.

We do moderate our reviews for offensive language or starring that doesn’t follow our review policy.

The theatre world is a connected place. Our reviewers must have no close social connection with shows they are reviewing, nor an active professional relationship. We expect our reviewers always to declare a conflict of interest. Any reviewers breaking this ethic are immediately removed from the review team.

Our reviewers may sometimes also be, as theatremakers, staging their own productions or be involved in a Fringe production. Our reviewers can have their show reviewed by a FringeReview reviewer, subject to the same reviews policy as everyone else. They have no influence on that review and the reviewer must not have any kind of close social connection with the reviewer, nor an active professional connection. We trust our reviewers to remain objective but always emphasise that the reviewer is not in any way a close associate of the show they are reviewing.