EVERYTHING MARKED WITH: 4 Stars


Stu Black August 30th, 2015 by

Stu Black is quite refreshing. Perhaps I feel like that because we’ve all had a week in the FringePig office looking at reviewers eager to winkle out misogynists and those guilty of cultural essentialism or national exceptionalism or gender reductivism. Reviewers who have taken on the job of culture police. And then suddenly we have […]


Dominic Cavendish August 26th, 2015 by

Dominic Cavendish is perhaps best known, among comedians anyway, as the man who walked out of a Stewart Lee gig. Appalled by Lee’s apparent contempt for his audience, Cavendish asked why “the capacity crowd didn’t mutiny at this sardonic onslaught”. The reason, in the heads of most comedygoers, was that they understood the context of […]


Craig Thomson August 24th, 2015 by

At first, Craig Thomson’s prose style can jar a bit. But then you start reading his work in a clipped, treacly, 1950s cricket-commentator voice and then it all feels right. Especially when he says things like: “There shouldn’t be a problem with drunken rowdiness before elevenses, I’d hope.” Not that Thomson is impenetrable: far from it. […]


Jon Stapley August 20th, 2015 by

There are some toys at FringePig who seem to think that that theatre-hags and cabaret-whores and music-prostitutes and childrens’-show…erm… whatever class of degenerate they are… should stick to hanging around in their own fleshpots. I’ve never really agreed, and so it is my pleasure to present the amazing, multi-faceted, quadruple-headed Jon Stapley. A good few […]


Claire Smith August 19th, 2015 by

Claire Smith – or ‘The Scotsman’s Clair Smith’, as the Wow24/7 website denomes her – is every bit as good a reviewer as you’d expect a veteran hack to be. (Note to comedians: ‘hack’ is not a pejorative term in journalism.) You might not agree with everything she writes, nor the assumptions on which she […]


Robert Stevens August 18th, 2015 by

Robert Stevens’ reviews are like Volvos. Solid little review Volvos, chugging through the Fringe with their 120 words of reasonable, proof-read, quite-well-informed blah. He’s SO reasonable that sometimes the most cutting comments almost slip away unnoticed. He’s a bit of a mailed-fist-in-a-velvet-glove merchant: “David Elms’ low-level subtlety is a delight to watch,” he says – at […]


Gemma Scott August 27th, 2014 by

We’ve been wondering here at Fringepig why, when Three Weeks is such an insubstantial piece of festival trash, so many of reviewers have scraped through this year’s Fringepig audit relatively unscathed. On the whole, it seems to come down to the length of rope. Three Weeks writers, while certainly no better qualified than their peers, […]


Bruce Blacklaw August 20th, 2014 by

The thing about Bruce Blacklaw is that he writes a bit like Steve Bennett from Chortle. He even looks a bit like Steve Bennett from Chortle. And the way he keeps making little quips that sometimes work and sometimes just tip over into mean-spiritedness, that’s so Steve. The way the frustration leaks out that he’s […]


Tom Bragg August 14th, 2014 by

Tom Bragg, the magazine’s podcast editor, is not your usual Three Weeks hack, by which I mean he has very apparent writing skills and applies them skilfully to the publication’s puff format. I think I speak for my colleagues when I say that, when reviewing reviewers, it’s usual for us to glance at the stars […]


Hamish Clayton August 10th, 2014 by

There’s something about Hamish Clayton that’s a little bit creepy. He puts you in mind of Prince Joffrey, or Caligula as played by Malcolm McDowell, so quickly do his apparent affections and sympathies turn to menace. “It must be remembered that this is a free show and should be judged accordingly. It is certainly better […]


Lorenzo Pacitti August 4th, 2014 by

You can’t help but be drawn into Lorenzo Pacitti’s reviews. He makes no effort at all to impress us with big words or elaborate sentence structure. He never once pauses to expound on the bigger ideas that are put forward by the show he’s watching. He’s a ground-level reviewer who allows himself to get caught […]


Mark Monahan August 3rd, 2014 by

To be honest, I’ve never much cared for the way The Telegraph denomes Mark Monahan “joint dance critic … and also writes about film and stand-up comedy”. It’s almost as bad as his colleague Dominic Cavendish, stand-up comedy critic AND deputy theatre luvvie. What do these disciplines have to do with each other? Nothing, that’s […]


Veronica Lee July 25th, 2014 by

Most of The Arts Desk’s Fringe comedy reviews were written by Veronica Lee in 2013, and it’s fair to say that she is a very thorough reviewer. Clearly this reviewer sees comedy AS art, and despite its lack of Arts Council funding I wouldn’t like to dissuade her. It explains her appraisal – practically a […]


Paul Fleckney July 21st, 2014 by

Paul Fleckney is the main man at London Is Funny, so you would hope his reviewing skills are strong. Well, they’re not at all bad: he takes his time, breaks down each aspect of what he sees and peppers the whole thing with some nice little phrases: “Partridge-esque overtures” and “speech patterns traight from the […]


John-Paul Stephenson had his work cut out at last year’s Fringe, where he was keeping the Gigglebeats reviewing boat afloat by himself. With that in mind he did a pretty good job all in all. Taking himself to some things that were off the beaten track, and several of the Free Fringe/Free Festival offerings, he […]


Grace Brennan July 17th, 2014 by

One thing I’ll guarantee you: You won’t read a Grace Brennan review and then rush out to buy a ticket. This reviewer takes a somewhat low-powered perambulation through the thing she’s seeing that, such that – even within a Three Weeks one-paragraph writeup – there’s ample space to nod off. Now and then a sentence […]


Paul F Cockburn July 17th, 2014 by

I’m not going to say anything bad about Paul F Cockburn because the photo of him makes him look like he’d gladly kick the stuffing out of my head and feed it to his staffie. But we shouldn’t judge by first impressions, should we? For instance, when I start reading a review in Broadway Baby, […]


Peter Dorman July 17th, 2014 by

I’m going to ignore the fact that Peter Dorman uses phrases such as “strap yourselves in” and “not one for the easily offended” and even – EVEN! – “a must see”… because, for the greater part, Peter Dorman is a capable reviewer. His reviews get to the point and express his opinion in plain English […]


Jenni Ajderian July 17th, 2014 by

Jenni Ajderian proofreads science journals, apparently, which would account for what, in this publication, is an uncharacteristic lack of typographical errors in her reviews. She also has a nice way of recreating the atmosphere of the gig. Of Dan Cook she writes: “The tiny venue makes it possible for the comic to stare down audience […]


James Macnamara July 17th, 2014 by

Of Milo McCabe’s 2014 offering, Mannamara writes that the comic “is wired to create and unite idiosyncrasies in order to form characters of real comic integrity.” He then goes on about the audience “repartee” (how nice to hear the word ‘repartee’ in this day and age! I thought it had been retired along with ‘’courting’ […]