A Template for a FringeReview Review

You log in and fill out an “Add a play” form as a reviewer.

FringeReview reviews should aim for about 400-500 words and be based  on 4  sections main review section of the form.

There are three elements to a review you should fill in when you fill out the standard review form:

Subtitle (some of our reviewers keep forgetting this little box!). The subtitle is a one-liner that summarises the show’s most positive element. For example:

“An impressive debut that grips from start to finish.”
“Powerful physical theatre, with a very strong script.”
“An intense dialogue that doesn’t always maintain its focus.”

Second is the Lowdown. This should be a short paragraph – 75 word maximum – that summarises the show and also gives a clear overview indication of the reviewer’s assessment of it in a sentence, a bit like the subtitle. Performing companies may well use the Lowdown as an extract on their posters and publicity.

Finally, there is a Review with the suggested four paragraphs:

Paragraph 1 is a factual description of the show itself.
Paragraph 2 is an assessment of:
– the writing
– the performances
– the staging and design
– the production values
– the contribution of the show to the genre
– the extent to which the production succeeds overall

This may run to several paragraphs of course!

In each of these elements, there should be objective comments on areas for improvement, strengths to build on. Outstanding elements and excellence shoud be celebrated.

Paragraph 3 is the reviewer’s personal response to the show and, where possible, a description of the impact on the audience present at that show

Paragraph 4 draws all of this together in a summary, arriving logically at the chosen rating. Please note that from August 2013, FringeReview replaced star ratings with:

GOOD SHOW (the lower end of 3 star – you can’t personally recommend the show but there’s enough good in the show for it still to be published as a review on FringeReview)

RECOMMENDED (roughly the old top end of 3 star)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (the old 4 star but means EXCELLENT)

OUTSTANDING (the old 5 star but needs evidence to prove it is really out own its own as finest work)

HIDDEN GEM (deserves a wider audience as the key thing you want to get across)

MUST SEE (at any level of rating the main this is its uniqueness and makes you believe it to be unissable)

DO NOT OVER-RATE. Be prepared to give GOOD or RECOMMENDED or NOT publish a review. . The rating isn’t your feeling about the show. It isn’t about like, love – dislike, hate. It is about trying hard to be objective about the QUALITY of the work.

This is a minimal template. It is perfectly alright for a reviewer to use their own personal writing style and not follow this template slavishly as long as the personal does not dominate to the extent that objectivity is lost. The Reviews Policy of FringeReview is very clear on the objective assessment and star rating. But individual writing flair can dance across the page and still cover the bases of our reviews policy.

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