EVERYTHING MARKED WITH: 2 Stars


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 […]


Nick Awde August 26th, 2015 by

Nick Awde has been around since gaslighting, writing about theatre and working on a string of large stage productions, some of them at the Fringe. This pedigree may explain the aloofness with which he told Phil Ellis’s Funz and Gamez Tooz to fuck off: “Guys, you got last year’s award because you were an in-joke […]


Sarah Gough August 24th, 2015 by

I’m sure that, if I could get over the pony club tone to Sarah Gough’s reviews, I’d find her to be a perfectly adequate reviewer. So I’m going to say that she’s a perfectly adequate reviewer. I’m sure the non-ironic and shameless use of the phrase “cheeky chappy” to describe Rhys Nicholson is annoying only […]


Dawn Kofie August 9th, 2015 by

There is the occasional nice bit of phrasing in Dawn Kofie’s reviews. They occur when she is just saying what she sees. Stuff like “there’s a weirdly lyrical description of [Rob Delaney] taking a Peeping Tom role when his friend’s neighbour has an S&M party.” This, at least, makes me want to see Delaney’s show. […]


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, […]


Alice Jones August 19th, 2014 by

There’s something about Alice Jones that I don’t quite trust. And I dislike my own distrust, because Jones writes very well. At least, she’s the sort of writer you want if you need an eloquent hagiography knocking up. Because when she likes something, she worships at its feet. And when she hates something, she wants […]


Okay, so that’s not his real surname. It’s not even an official nom de plume.We don’t know what his real surname is. He won’t tell us. Or maybe it’s Geoff the One4Review editor who won’t tell us. Maybe Geoff doesn’t want him getting ideas beyond his station. Geoff (Evans) himself is just ‘Geoff’ most of […]


Peter Edwards July 26th, 2014 by

So few reviewers these days write reviews that are, consistently, just the right length. Peter Edwards is one of the select group that does. If this is damning him with faint praise, I would add that he is also very capable. His reviews are concise, descriptive and… frank. Very, very frank. He is very harsh […]


Carrie Gooch July 21st, 2014 by

Carrie Gooch seems unwilling to come to terms with the fact that she has accepted the role of critic, and so must hit us with her unmitigated opinions, and pass off these opinions as objective truth. It’s a great responsibility: too much, arguably, for a mere mortal – and yet that is what the job […]


Gavin Leech July 17th, 2014 by

Gavin Leech is a theatre reviewer who only drifts into a comedy show once per Fringe, it seems. In 2013 he reviewed Jim Higo’s Free Fringe show That’s Not How You Spell Pedantic, and back in 2011 he had a look at Kev Orkian. “Punk poet and grammar-nazi Jim Higo has a list of language […]


James Hampson July 17th, 2014 by

If you can imagine the art of performing comedy as something akin to spreading silage on stage, then you’ll understand the default position of James Hampson – he’s at the back of the room in a protective mac and gaiters, grimacing, with a peg on his nose. Reviewing’s a dirty job, but someone’s (apparently) got […]


“It certainly does pay tribute to Richard Herring’s comic abilities that the audience was able to leave the theatre feeling strangely uplifted, especially when considering the show’s subject matter.” Did that sentence hurt your eyes? Welcome to the reviewing world of Robert McGowan Stuart, a chap who never writes more than 120 words, 100 of […]


Si Hawkins July 17th, 2014 by

Hawkins is a great fan of the words ‘hackneyed’, ‘indulgent’, ‘boring’ and the phrases ‘goes on too long’ and ‘this is hardly new’. Do people not realise that he has somewhere important to be, like another show he can’t be arsed to sit through? His prose is noisy with the sound of eyeballs being rolled […]


Rory Mackenzie July 17th, 2014 by

I’m not sure I believe anything that Rory Mackenzie writes. Not because I think he’s lying, but because I’m not convinced he knows what he’s looking at. His reviews seem to be rooted in the soil of deep ignorance, fertilised by sublimated pain and anxiety. Reading one of his reviews is like trying to get […]


Roberta Thomson July 17th, 2014 by

In her review of The Little Wheel Sketch Show, Roberta Thomson complains that it was loud, aggressive and over the top. Later on in her 120-word review she adds that it was loud, over the top and aggressive. And if you’re not convinced, she concludes that it was confusing, mildly offensive and painful on the […]


Malcolm Jack July 17th, 2014 by

Malcolm Jack isn’t impressed by much, and he wants us to know it. His adjectives all flow from the seen-it-all, done-it-all, yadda-yadda school of journalism.  Of Gemma Whelan’s Chastity Butterworth & The Spanish Hamster he writes that something like this turns up at the Fringe “pretty much every year in one form or another”. Gareth […]


Kate Pasola July 17th, 2014 by

When the audience isn’t getting it, be assured that Kate Pasola definitely IS. And when the audience is lapping it up, then Kate Pasola is not. Or perhaps she is, but in a very different way. At any rate, she takes great pains to tell us that she is having a very singular experience, unlike […]


Lauren Stephen July 17th, 2014 by

Lauren Stephen moved to Edinburgh to work in the Lush soap shop. When the Fringe came around, Three Weeks let her go and review Rob Delaney. She said that he was “completely obsessed with sex” and talked of nothing but “toilet humour”. She gave him two stars and went back to work where, at least, […]


Laura Hutton July 17th, 2014 by

Laura Hutton’s prose style is best described as ‘plodding’. It’s like a fat man walking down some uneven steps in a thick mist with a low-powered torch.  Hutton is always looking at what’s directly in front of her, holding onto the handrail of tangible forms: This happened, then this happened (liked that); this happened, wasn’t […]


Kai Sedgwick July 17th, 2014 by

One of my personal bugbears is the reviewing practice that, in the process of appraising a thing, slates something else that’s entirely unrelated. “This thing is even worse than that thing”. Reviewing Alexei Sayle, Kai Sedgwick says: “With the passage of time, a rose-spectacled audience has a tendency to romanticise the past. That’s why bands […]