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 up in the excitement of the audience, and he’s all the better for it.
“Despite significant technical problems which result in her performing without a mic for 90% of the show, Luisa strolls through an hour of girl-power fuelled, bombastic comedy,” he explains of Luisa Omielan in a review not short of bombast in itself. And although he concedes that “occasionally the show can descend into men-bashing”, Pacitti is happy to side with the audience’s approval.
Indeed, it’s astonishing how many reviewers neglect to mention the audience at all. Perhaps they think it’s unprofessional, somehow, to let a show’s environment impinge on a review. It’s a mistake, I think, and a self-deception. Acknowledging the challenges or benefits surrounding a show can only make a review better, and Pacitti seems to be cogniscent of this.
“Despite the single digit crowd, there’s a pleasant atmosphere in Bar 50 as the few punters here tonight hang on Harriet Dyer’s every word,” he tells us, in a nice review that quickly plummets into words like ‘hackneyed’ and ‘stretched’ but still maintains that “It’s impossible to deny how fascinating Dyer is as an individual.” I was a bit confused by this review and wished that Pacitti had taken more time to explain himself.
There are no such problems in John Robertson’s Nifty History of Evil, where he explains the nature of the show just enough not to spoil it. He tells us “He can be telling you about what exactly the Marquis De Sade did with his penis or exotic torture techniques, and do so with the same charm and glint in his eye as the pleasant Aussie who watched with a big grin as his queue filled up.” Pacitti has an endearing lightness of touch.
Sadly he goes on to talk about “the chaotic nature of the show” which, in my experience, usually means that the reviewer just couldn’t keep track of it. But Pacitti is very much a reviewer who sets out with the intention of enjoying himself.
Jemyma C Noevil