Donald Stewart (FRINGEREVIEW)

I quite like Donald Stewart. His reviews are rather long but you get the sense that he’s trying to be precise rather than verbose.

He can be very efficient at times – his description of That Pair as “wicked, slick and sick” seems to put them in a pretty good nutshell, for example – but not quite often enough. Sometimes it feels like the more Stewart explains a situation the less I understand. Explaining Nick Hodder’s show he tells us (and I’m copying and pasting here):

“Before we started Jim left, then went the front row before the back row went too. To be fair the back row did arrive after we hadn’t started. They were then were replaced by a family who got there just in time for it to begin. Overall if you have trouble following this then you really had to be there.”

I think Jim is someone who was asked to move. But I don’t know why the bottom-shuffling of the audience before the show started, on one particular occasion, requires the broader public attention. And I would probably still think that if I had been there. He sticks with the audience, though: “…Working as an antidote to that straight jacket means we have to invest in him. Most of us do though Ann in the front row seems to think it is all about him.” Who the hell is Ann? And why is he a he? I mean OF COURSE Ann can be a he if he wants to be, but I’m distracted from the review now.

Stewart makes another fatherless callback while discussing Kirsty Mac’s Feminazi: “I can forgive the tablet being used to show the video as the volume came through the speakers but was wanting to know more than just the story about the boat protest.” I have no idea what the boat protest was. Also, the first and second parts of the sentence have nothing to do with each other.

I get the feeling that Stewart assumes everyone he is talking to has been along with him to see the shows. He-half explains so many things, and makes so many oblique references, that the “you had to be there” comment is perhaps truer than he intended.

He is much clearer when discussing how he feels about shows, and he isn’t shy about sharing his thought process. Donald Stewart’s reviews have a relaxed everyman feel to them where his fandom and his attention to detail shine through. I just sometimes wish that I could work out what he was looking at.

Boxley de Ribeiro

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Comments on Donald Stewart

2 comments on "Donald Stewart"

  1. Donald C Stewart says:

    Well hello there!
    I quite like you too.
    When I was told I was on here I got quite excited and then nervous at the same time. Reminded me of how important it is when publishing reviews just how much of a responsibility it is; so thank you. I also take on board your views and to be fair… you had to be there. Just to clarify… Nick Hodder’s review – Tim was asked to move by Nick, he refused then left . Following his exit the front row left. Then the back row left. Nick’s show starts 42 minutes after we arrive so there is time to arrive late and yet not miss the beginning. And everyone in the audience was given a name badge with Brian on it, except he ran out and only had one for Ann at the front; who was a gobby older man… Lot of explanation to get into the review! Maybe should have left it out… Anyway getting feedback is great and thank you for taking the time. It shall all be used; after what reviewer should ignore reviews…

  2. Rhod says:

    Wait… so Jim was Tim? And was Ann actually an Ann or just a man with a namebadge? You’re not helping yourself here mate.

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