Sarah McIntosh (BROADWAY BABY)

Sarah McIntosh goes by the Twitter handle ‘domesticharpie’, and her mugshot is of herself and her progeny. I was hoping, therefore, that this mummy-critic would provide a different angle on things to the usual Fringe teennybopper, and on the whole I think she achieves that – not least because she allows her children to add stars to things she might otherwise low-score: “both boys giggled at every single Dick-joke”, she says.

Yet there is plenty in her reviews that’s adult and measured, with some excellent turns of phrase: “ Richard Franks must have been to some sort of facial gymnasium; his face is an absolute treasure of perma-worried expression and elastic perfection”; “as he relates a deeply moving chapter of his life; his eyes are shiny with the memory”. It’s these insights that keep the review-reading public awake.

There is a lot more moderation and calm consideration than you’ll find in most Fringe reviews , and in her reports of Kindness by Sam Brady and Kevin Dewsbury’s 2012 show, which deals with his mental breakdown, she responds to the pain with a perspicacious humanism frankly missing from the psyches of 90 per cent of comedy reviewers. Perhaps more critics should have children; it seems to do wonders for the powers of empathy.

One small gripe: If McIntosh is going to consult her “juniour” reviewers over and over again, she needs to watch her typos. Goodness knows Broadway Baby isn’t going to fix them for her.

Michaela Plaidface

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