Victoria Nangle August 22nd, 2015 by

When you read Victoria Nangle’s reviews you find yourself muttering ‘Get on with it’ a lot. There’s a great deal of throat-clearing and pussyfooting, all of it taking up ink and paper that could have been used for poetry, or a treatise on human rights or something. Take her first paragraph on Candy Gigi: Looking […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ben Shannon August 12th, 2015 by

Ben Shannon is a likeable presence whose relaxed hand on the tiller eases the audience into the situation, combining a light-hearted patter and confidence beyond his years. Don’t take my word for it, though. Because those were not my words. They were a reviewer’s words, back when Shannon was in Three Men and a Saucepan […]

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 […]

Megan Dalton August 24th, 2014 by

Megan Dalton makes sense most of the time, but occasionally reveals her youthful inexperience by going off half-cocked at nothing very much. For example, her discussion of Baba Brinkman’s The Canterbury Tales Remixed has some lovely observations and deft turn of phrase, such as “the use of mediocre cartoons limits rather than expands the world […]

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 […]

Charlotte Ivers August 13th, 2014 by

There was a point in Charlotte Ivers’ review of Mark Nelson where I wanted to invent the game Reviewer Bingo, in which the cards would have stock reviewing phrases instead of numbers. “His delivery is confident and relaxed…” (Yes!) “Controversial enough to keep things interesting, but never oversteps the mark….” (Yes!) “His social observations are […]

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 […]

Lewis Porteous August 4th, 2014 by

My colleague Mr Rumania has always been rather dismissive of Fest reviewers, saying that they have a policy of under-rating good shows and judging everything from behind a barricade of preconceptions. Even the balanced Mr Kipper calls them “haughty”. I wondered whether it was just that Fest tries to be more honest, and sets realistic […]

Ian Freeman July 17th, 2014 by

Ian Freeman is a reasonably competent reviewer who likes the jokes to come thick and fast. If they don’t, he’ll complain that the show flags, or that the gaps between gags are unsatisfyingly long, or even “filled with inane chat”. All of which is fair enough. He’s generous with his stars although not exactly gushing […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lene Korseberg July 17th, 2014 by

Lene Korseberg is an OK reviewer, but she lacks confidence in her own words. The result is that she says the same thing over and over again, but in a different way. To illustrate this point, Lene Koseberg could be quite a good reviewer, but tends to over-explain things as if uncertain that her point […]

Keith Smith July 17th, 2014 by

Keith Smith writes like a Private Eye journalist writing a parody local news item: think Phil Space or Lunchtime O’Booze. The only thing lacking from his reviews is the signoff “Will this do?” and the response “You’re fired: Ed”. A man of action, Keith likes to start his sentences with a verb. Doing this is […]

Julia Chamberlain July 17th, 2014 by

Nobody can doubt Chamberlain’s devotion to comedy; her long service in some fairly tough jobs is testament to that. Neither has she ever flinched from her ideal of what comedy should be. Despite some people complaining (and with some justification, perhaps) that you can’t book acts and review them, Chamberlain is held in good affection […]

Elspeth Rudd July 17th, 2014 by

I’ll be honest with you, Elspeth Rudd got my back up right from the off. “ELSPETH RUDD is currently an undergraduate studying English at Bangor University,” quoth her bio. “This will be her first Edinburgh Festival and she isn’t entirely sure what she is letting herself in for!” Well hey, Elspeth, it’s only people’s lives […]

Frankie Goodway July 17th, 2014 by

Frankie Goodway seems to be given a lot of work by Broadway Baby; it’s good to see that they recognise a good writer when they see one. Many reviewers try to evoke broader themes from their wry generalisations, and almost all of them fail abysmally. But Goodway shows how it’s done: “The show concludes with […]

Heather Bagnall July 17th, 2014 by

Reviewing the Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show, Bagnall begins: “Much like Arthur’s Seat is the bedrock of Edinburgh, comedy is the bedrock of the Edinburgh Fringe”. Well, Arthur’s Seat is a volcanic outcrop; one that is largely devoid of topsoil and has been subject to a great deal of erosion and vertical fracture. Bedrock is […]

Emma Obank July 17th, 2014 by

At one end of the reviewing spectrum is the callow youth determined to slay a comedy giant with their caustic dismissals; at the other is the starstruck devotee. Obank is clearly of the second water, and spends her first paragraph rattling off the accolades of whoever she’s looking at. Having done so, it seems unlikely […]

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