EVERYTHING MARKED WITH: 3 and a half stars


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 […]


Stewart McLaren July 13th, 2014 by

Stewart McLaren suggests that he has done a Film & Media Studies BA in the statement “this persistent post-modern breaking of the fourth wall completely breaks the flow to an unnecessary extent”. Whether or not it’s true, he certainly has all the hallmarks of a student amateur reviewer. There’s nothing particularly objectionable about his critiques, […]