EVERYTHING MARKED WITH: 4 Stars


Ariane Branigan August 18th, 2018 by

‘Ariane Branigan is a prospective student living in Edinburgh’ says her potted Wee Review biography. Yes. She hasn’t EVEN managed to be a student yet. She’s a PROSPECTIVE one. So… You know those woke little squits wriggling about in a sea of deactivated culture semen? She hasn’t YET MANAGED to become one of them. Fucking […]


Sophie Cartman August 13th, 2018 by

I can’t remember… is Sophie Cartman the underprivileged London one or the feral Scottish winner of the Steve Bennett Lower Class Munificence Outreach Award? At any rate she is producing reviews for Chortle at the rate of one a week, so we’re tempted to tell Steve he’s on a losing wicket here. YOU JUST CAN’T […]


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: […]


Eve Livingston August 7th, 2017 by

There’s no affectation to Eve Livingston’s reviews; they’re straight as an arrow hewn out at the Rolls Royce machineworks. The quality isn’t far off either. If Livingston has one fault it’s perhaps her conviction that she has to comment on every bit of the show; not quite blow by blow but certainly every major movement. […]


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 […]


Evan Beswick August 6th, 2014 by

This year, Beswick had me at Hello when his review of Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel opened with: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a successful show in possession of good reviews, must be in want of a bit of an upgrade.” And I quite like how he tries to keep the tone […]


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 […]