EVERYTHING MARKED WITH: 2 & 1/2 Stars


Paul Mitchell August 24th, 2018 by

Paul Mitchell gives his readers the unusual feeling that he is trying very hard to explain what’s going on onstage, yet leaves you with very little idea what went on onstage. There’s a lot of florid prose that just bursts into nothingness like sprays of cherry blossom if you get too close to it. Sometimes […]


Will Young August 19th, 2016 by

The problem with Will Young – and it’s not a terminal problem – is his apparent need to assault everything he looks at. He’ll attempt to establish an ideological standpoint, frame a performer’s whole existence or tie the whole show up into an epithet. Until he’s got his performer helpless and hogtied, Young does not […]


Tamarin Fountain August 23rd, 2015 by

First the good news: Tamarin Fountain has an excellent name. Well, that’s not the good news. But she does, though. The good news is that Tamarin Fountain writes very clearly in plain English. Her style is friendly in a sub Marge-Proops way, and she lets you know what’s going on without getting too deconstructive: “This […]


Joseph McAulay August 19th, 2015 by

Joseph McAulay concerns himself with theatre in the main, and makes only occasional sorties into comedy. While a thesp overview of comedy is sometimes helpful and revealing, McAulay gives the overall impression of someone who wishes the comedy he’s watching could be a bit more – well, theatre-y. It’s clear that he sees the driving […]


Matthew Sharpe August 17th, 2015 by

We all like a superfluity of grandiose verbiage. There’s no need to say “superfluity of grandiose verbiage” when I could just say “too many big words”, but I did it and I’ll do it again. So when I read that Lou Sanders’ Excuse Me, You’re Sitting On My Penis Again is “substantively light on penises, […]


Cara McNamara August 15th, 2015 by

This year The Skinny has taken to packing shows together for review, which may be new editor Ben Venables’ way of getting more work out of his staff. For my money this approach works best when the shows under discussion have some points in common. The Skinny does indeed bind the shows together as themes, […]


Yasmin Sulaiman August 14th, 2015 by

We at FringePig often bemoan the lazy reviewer who, either uncertain of their own credibility or unwilling to condemn a show outright, signs off a review with words to the effect that it’s okay if you like that sort of thing. Yasmin Sulaiman, though, is the first reviewer shameless enough to say that precisely. Joanna […]


John Stansfield August 9th, 2015 by

You know how preachers – of any religion – will tell you that God knows you far better than you can know yourself? Well God knows nothing next to John Stansfield. John Stansfield looks down from on high upon the piddling little comedian and knows exactly what they think they are, what they think they’re […]


Cayley James August 25th, 2014 by

Cayley James is in no doubt that she knows what comedy is, and what must be done to make it better. When she commands that “The Fringe needs more comedians of colour – the overwhelmingly white programme doesn’t lack quality but it does lack perspective,” it surely did not even occur to her that this […]


Ed Ballard August 24th, 2014 by

I imagine there are scenes of panic and frustration at the Fest office. If they have an office. I imagine editor Evan Beswick stomping down a damp, fluorescent-stripped corridor, its carpet tiles curled up at the corners like tobacco leaves, knocking over sick, brown pot plants with his elbows shouting “Ballard! Five stars?! What is […]


Laura Gavin August 16th, 2014 by

Laura Gavin “has an MSc in creative writing from the University Of Edinburgh” apparently. Yet there is nothing whimsical or narrative about her reviews. She has the look of a district magistrate, and her reports on Fringe entertainment are like something a stenographer would type up. Her reviews always feel like a weighing-up of the evidence […]


Niki Boyle August 11th, 2014 by

Excuse me just a moment while I fact you with stats: so far this year Niki Boyle has reviewed eight shows, scattering so few stars between them that they average just above 2.6 apiece. This is slightly more than his average for 2012 (2.58), in which, of 17 shows, he only went as high as […]


Laura Kidd August 8th, 2014 by

Laura Kidd is alright at reviewing, I suppose. She seems to get the measure of Lewis Schaeffer, saying “it takes almost the full 50 minutes of his show to start liking him”. That’s when other reviewers go off him, so it sounds like she saw a good one. And four stars is generous (in a […]


George Robb August 6th, 2014 by

This reviewer has, apparently, “been a fan of the Fringe ever since the age of 14, after stumbling upon it during a long journey from Argyll to England”. One senses that something is missing from this story, such as “as his mother desperately scoured the country for a school where he wouldn’t be bullied”. Perhaps […]


Laura Ennor July 26th, 2014 by

I’m fairly sure there must be narrative accounts of the Rwandan genocide that are bubblier than Laura Ennor’s comedy reviews. I’m sure that some of the confessions extracted at Guantanamo read in a bouncier, more upbeat style. I’m not doing her down on skills; she is clearly a capable journalist who knows her mind. In […]


Martin Walker July 21st, 2014 by

We hope that Martin Walker will pull his finger out now that he’s editor of Broadway Baby. At ScotsGay last year it never seemed as if he took a punt on anything very much – most of what he saw was couched in terms such as “this is always good,” “brilliant as usual” etc. You […]


Ian Freeman July 17th, 2014 by

Ian Freeman is a reasonably competent reviewer who likes the jokes to come thick and fast. If they don’t, he’ll complain that the show flags, or that the gaps between gags are unsatisfyingly long, or even “filled with inane chat”. All of which is fair enough. He’s generous with his stars although not exactly gushing […]


Nanna Gunnars July 17th, 2014 by

Nanna Gunnars doesn’t want to be misunderstood. Perish the thought. Her reviews have  a fussy preciousness to them that’s as clumsy as it is amusing. Her description of Lost Voice Guy was both informative and reasonable, for example, concluding “His banter with the audience is one of the best I have witnessed, not just on […]


Sam Bradley July 17th, 2014 by

Sam Bradley commits some of the usual sins of the BB coterie, not least frequent slips of grammar and baggy prose. Of the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society he drones “…for the discerning comedy fans mulling over the current crop of comedians populating this year’s Fringe catalogue [continues ad infinitum]”. At one point Bradley forgets that he’s […]


Nadia Brooks July 17th, 2014 by

“A young lad with a winsome demeanour entered the room and high-fived everyone in the audience. Immediately I liked him.” Ugh, why do people write like this? Were they brought up by mongrels on a bombsite, living in an overturned wheelbarrow without pens or paper? I mean, WHY? It gets worse. “I for one liked […]