EVERYTHING MARKED WITH: The List


Katharine Gemmell August 18th, 2018 by

Katharine Gemmell isn’t a bad reviewer per se, but her impulse to be all over the shows she sees tends to result in her passing judgment on people rather than performance. This is something we’ve come to expect of younger reviewers (Fest is full of this sort of thing) and although we don’t know Gemmell’s […]


Rowena McIntosh August 23rd, 2017 by

Reading a Rowena McIntosh review is a bit like seeing a social worker or a psychologist who you’re relying on in court. Probably. What I mean is, that she’s all smiles and happy noises but there’s a sense she’s de-escalating and boxing her reviewees up so she can get on with her life. To demonstrate: […]


Craig Naples August 22nd, 2016 by

Craig Naples has this infuriating habit of trying to give a tantalising flavour of something but just being bloody annoying. When he tells us that Scott Gibson: Life After Death comes “…with one moment in particular (involving a matron and a pillow) … is swift yet chillingly clinical and grotesque”, he applies FOUR adjectives to […]


Dave Coates August 28th, 2015 by

Dave Coates is one of those reviewers who, like a teacher at a long-established school, wants everyone to try their best. And he wants them to be cheerful about it.Jack Barry, for example, “seems self-aware enough that his mis-steps suggest a performer in the middle of a promising learning process”. Coates could have added “Will […]


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 […]


Emma Newlands August 14th, 2015 by

This tired old Fringepigger started out not liking Emma Newlands. But that’s largely because the term ‘self-deprecating’ winds me up for reasons I have explained to death. So: “Reviewers always describe me as self-deprecating, says Angela Barnes, just as this reviewer had written those very words down.” (WHY? WHY HAD YOU WRITTEN AN OVERUSED BIT […]


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 […]


Graeme Connelly August 25th, 2014 by

Graeme Connelly doesn’t really know what sentences are supposed to do. Every time he begins one he has no idea where it will end, or what he wants it to achieve. Most of the time he ends it prematurely, as if suddenly aborting its mission. Sometimes four or five sentences are sent out in succession, […]


Maud Sampson August 16th, 2014 by

First, a confession: I do not always know what Maud Sampson is talking about. “Think less 50 Cent and his hoes, more Tupac in his 1995 police custody video talking about rap as poetry,” she advises as a way to understand Rubberbandits. Tupac? He was one of those rapper chaps, wasn’t he? Forgive me, I […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


Miles Fielder July 17th, 2014 by

There’s very little to criticise in Miles Fielder’s writing style. It is adult, sober and fluid. The sentences are tight, the adjectives well chosen. He writes with rhythm. In fact you actually feel a sense of loss for not seeing some of the shows he recommends, because it sounds like advice from someone  you’d be […]


Brian Donaldson July 15th, 2014 by

Brian Donaldson is Comedy editor at The List and reporter at large for The Scotsman. Apart from his Fringe duties he has written for The Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Saga, Sunday Herald, The Herald, Scotland On Sunday, the London Evening Standard and The Record. As you would expect from such a time-served hack, […]


Good reviewers are harder to review. That’s because, in trying to get an angle on their body of work, you suddenly find that you’ve read everything they wrote at the 2013 Fringe as easily as if it was a pulp thriller, and you’ve reached the last one with barely a thought in your head. This […]


Suzanne Black July 13th, 2014 by

Suzanne Black supplied a lot of The List’s reviews this year, which is to the magazine’s credit. Unusually for a reviewer Black doesn’t linger too long over any particular detail and gives the performer, the material and the vibe in the room sufficient explanation. Black often goes to some lengths to explain how much she […]