Back when I started this blog, I invited you to post suggestions for topics I might cover over the next few weeks. One suggestion came from an anonymous performer, who asked – if I may paraphrase it – how websites like ours can be sure that our reviewers know what they’re talking about. It’s a very fair question, but I don’t have a general-purpose answer; all I can tell you is what we do, as we seek to maintain our quality.
I started this blog saying that I’d discuss the “ethics and practice” of reviewing, but it’s occurred to me today that I’ve barely mentioned ethics at all. So to ease us gently into those potentially murky waters, here’s the first of a couple of posts about the relationships reviewers have with the rest of the Fringe community. Today’s question: must reviewers treat everyone equally, or is past experience a valid input into how we behave? In short, is it OK to have favourites?
Earlier today I took part in an event called “Selling Your Show At The Fringe” – though given the preponderance of media types on the panel, it did degenerate at times into “Selling Your Show To Journalists”. There was a lot of interesting discussion on a range of points, and the good folks of Fringe Central live tweeted the whole thing. If you weren’t there and you haven’t already seen it, it’s well worth a read.
One of the questions which came up was, paraphrasing it slightly, the circumstances under which we’d spike a review. That’s worth a quick blog post, I think – in fact, we’ve already touched on it in the comments a couple of times so far.
Today, I published this review of a play called Splatter. I was arm-twisted into reviewing Splatter as a result of an unwise comment on Twitter, and I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much from it – but in that regard, I was completely wrong. It’s an excellent play for a student production, with some compelling performances and a nicely-balanced script. And so it hurt a little bit to have to write that last-but-one paragraph – the one which says that the good work’s undermined by a completely unsuitable performance space.
A very quick blog post from me today, because the Fringe has finally caught up with me and I’m feeling the urgent need for some quality shut-eye. I’ve spent the greater part of today wearing my editor’s hat, publishing the first batch of reviews from the rest of my team; and that, while I think of it, is something that’s worth briefly talking about.