Molly Stewart has only reviewed two Fringe shows so far, and one of them during its preview, so apologies if we’re going off half-cock. But we are were very excited to have a Gigglebeater to reviewer-review; they don’t come around very often.
Stewart is a generous reviewer, always ready to temper a comment that may otherwise sound a little harsh. She’s nice enough to call the audience of an almost cancelled gig ‘petite’; while Tiernan Douieb makes “jokes made about subjects that the Fringe will be awash with” – but not, she insists, in a predictable way. In fact she makes the criticism and then rubs Savlon on it a second time: “Some jokes perhaps used obvious subjects and predictable routes, but this didn’t stop them being enjoyably successful with the audience.” It’s a bit like stabbing someone, apologising and then stabbing them again.
Stewart’s thoughts can come out a little tangled, and there are times when she tries to pack too many words into a sentence, throwing us off before we get to the end. She writes of shows that “present almost more as an emotionally intellectual discussion”, while Glenn Moore’s small audience was “not necessarily an overtly bad thing”. When she wrote that Douieb “seems to modestly contemplate in a very small manner”, I wondered if the review had been translated from the original Czech or something. What is a small manner?
With a little tightening up on the grammar and a whittling down of the prose (she could stand to lose at least 50 words in each of these reviews), Stewart’s obvious enthusiasm and open-handedness will doubtless become more apparent. Even when her intention isn’t 100 per cent clear, as when she tells us that “perhaps a larger audience would allow more room for awkward tailing off”, anyone who knows comedy will get the idea.