EVERYTHING MARKED WITH: 3 & 1/2 Stars


Frodo Allan August 27th, 2017 by

You know that bit in the Fisher King… (yes I know nobody watches the serious Robin Williams films anymore but you MUST have seen this one)… you know that bit where the lonely office worker lady says to Robin “Are you real?” because he’s being the sort of lovely, dreamy boyfriend everyone wants. On top […]


Stephanie Withers August 30th, 2015 by

Stephanie Withers gives the impression of being scared of running over the word limit. Her reviews release their information in staccato squirts of data. Occasionally she’ll pair two sentences with a comma. But mostly it reads like this. However, her reviews are better than this makes them sound. They’re perfectly clear and she always takes […]


Alun Evans August 28th, 2015 by

At first it seems that Alun Evans’ reviews are not very good. They seem like very matter-of-fact, unexceptional and literal pieces of prose. And then you remember that this is exactly what reviews are supposed to be like, and that you (and probably everyone else) has been ruined by the review-as-self-expression. The creative writing approach […]


Kate Wilkinson August 22nd, 2015 by

Kate Wilkinson gets the reviewing lark right, on the whole, with a nice balance between exposition and commentary. Her style is engaging, and she gives just enough away for the reader to want to know more. Of That Pair she tells us “The Truth About Girls is surely destined to become a feminist anthem; its chorus […]


Helen Ackrill August 16th, 2015 by

Helen Ackrill has a strong sense of what’s fair, and never criticises anything without first giving a thorough explanation. And when she praises something she tends to do it from the side, above, below and close up. Helen Ackrill tends to say the same thing over and over again. I’m not going to be a […]


Will Pope August 12th, 2015 by

For any comedian older than about 35, bringing your comedy to the Fringe has a special pitfall: the sizable chance that, if you speak on any subject other than snogging, worrying about your genitals and handing in a dissertation, the 17-year-old student reviewer will brand your material “not always relatable”. So it’s nice that Will […]


Claire Sawers August 27th, 2014 by

If I had to sum up Claire Sawers in one word it would have to be ‘dismissive’. She is airily dismissive of things she finds too insubstantial, like Phil Wang or Rhys James. In James’s review, in fact, she’s trying so hard not to care about what he does that she seems to suggest she […]


Chris Rumbles August 26th, 2014 by

Chris Rumbles is aptly named: his critiques roll noisily through each show he sees, alerting us to the many bumps and ruts. Inevitably, though, Rumble’s own wheels eventually fall off and we are left wondering which was really at fault: the show, or the reviewer driving his coach and horses through it. That allegory was […]


Fiona Shepherd August 15th, 2014 by

Fiona Shepherd is rock and pop reviewer for The Scotsman, but they let her write about comedy too because everyone is multitasking at Scotsman Towers these days. Jay Richardson makes sandwiches in the canteen. Joyce Macmillan maintains the drawbridge and the boiling oil. And anyway, comedy was once going to be the new rock n’ […]


Zander Bruce August 14th, 2014 by

“I first encountered this verdant dominatrix muppet at Meet the Media this year and within moments we were swapping stories of threesomes, hotel sex and Grindr.” So starts a typical Zander Bruce review. Bruce’s reviews are not really reviews as much as they are opportunities for Zander Bruce to talk about Zander Bruce, in the […]


Chris Aitken August 11th, 2014 by

“There felt like a good chance that I was about to miss Glenn Wool when I turned up at the Underbelly box office as I repeated the words, ‘Glenn Wool’ to be answered with ‘umming’ and ‘arring’ leaving me thinking I’d been wearing my dyslexic specs again and got the wrong venue (I am dyslexic). […]


Arianna Reiche August 10th, 2014 by

Last year, Arianna Reiche did a typically Fest thing: slating Al Lubel when almost everyone else thought he was quite magnificent. The critic two-starred her fellow American for being too confessional about his drawn-out toilet training. Yes, an American told another American that he was sharing too much. Weird shit happens at the Fringe. She […]


Kayleigh Blair August 3rd, 2014 by

Whenever I read a review that reads “To be frank, this show couldn’t get much better” I’m always a little suspicious of the author, especially one Fringepig hasn’t encountered before, and especially when I’m reading their first tranche of Fringe reviews. The same sense of unease creeps over me when they call Patrick Monahan a […]


Marissa Burgess July 28th, 2014 by

Marissa Burgess rarely allows herself more than 200 words, and even then never gets very close to the thing she’s examining. This can lead to her doing that reviewer’s thing of just reeling off the set-list, as she does with Paul F Taylor: “…Greedy seagulls, cats who are like baked products and impressions of caterpillars […]


RM Ballantyne July 21st, 2014 by

We assume that this name is ersatz, since we are very clever here at Fringepig and I know that RM Ballantyne was a Scottish children’s author in Victorian times, who wrote such ripping yarns as The Coral Island, forerunner to the altogether more dystopian Lord of the Flies. Of course, I could be wrong. It […]


Pete Kelly July 21st, 2014 by

Of all the reviewers to get cross with Carl Hutchinson for having a show about nothing much, Pete Kelly gets the crossest. “There should be a Fringe award for flimsiest premise in a stand-up show,” he growls. “[His show] conforms to the current orthodoxy that an hour of stand-up must conclude with a trite moral […]


Nancy Napper-Canter saw two comedy shows in the 2013 Fringe, and gave them three stars between them. She was similarly ungenerous the year before, where she seemed to respond to a show called We Love Comedy with the riposte “Well I bloody don’t so piss off”. Not that she’s workshy: she takes 550 words to […]


Vonny Moyes July 17th, 2014 by

Vonny Moyes isn’t a bad reviewer. In fact she could be great. Reviewing is not, of course, anything that greatly adds to the canon of literature, but some of her passages really sing. Of the show Pick Me Up she writes: “One or two sketches feel just a touch unresolved, and a meandering narrative sometimes […]


Richard Speir July 17th, 2014 by

It’s never easy trying to reviewer a reviewer who has reviewed precisely one comedy show in their entire life. Apart from anything, a person should be allowed to try everything once, should they not? I would not dream of grading Liam Speir on his proclivities with one ladyboy or one hit of methamphetamine, or one […]


Madeleine Ash July 17th, 2014 by

I must say I was a little annoyed by Madeleine Ash complaining about “the endless stream of stand-ups that swarm the Fringe”. Do you hear comedians complaining about the ceaseless pimpled plague of reviewers? Yes you do, and small wonder. However, Ash won me over – for the most part – by being quite capable […]