Our Reviews Policy
The review team are working writers, journalists, directors, dramaturgs and actors. The reviewers are active in the field of theatre and seek to review shows representing innovation, challenge, competence and creativity in the field. We do not seek to review all shows in a Fringe festival. Choice is often intuitive.
Our aim is to find good shows and review them. We keep our ear to the ground. We do our research. We do not review at random. Most of these reviews have involved getting a second opinion within the review team.
We seek only good shows. If we find a show that is less than RECOMMENDED, we offer the review privately to the performing company.artist. We do not publish it to our site. Why? Because FringeReview has decided to be a publication that provides reviews of RECOMMENDED theatre – shows that are, in our view, worth seeing.
We may be the only review a show receives and it is not our aim to ruin the chances of shows in Fringe Theatre. So, we offer to remain silent on shows deemed by us to be less than good.
This is a site to find theatre we believe to be good or better. This is a site of recommendations.
FringeReview prides itself on attempting to review the theatre we see: as writing, as performance, as staging, as design and production. Subjectivity will always play into a review and we want audiences to know what a reviewer personally thought or felt about a show. However, the rating is set through an attempt to detach from that personal reaction of “taste” and to focus as objectively as possible on the quality of the show as a piece of assessed theatre – its skill, it professionalism, its accomplishment as performing art. We don’t claim to be objective, but we do try to be, and we think it’s worth trying.
Conflict of Interest
Our reviewers do not review shows in which there is a clear conflict of interest with current , future or recently completed work projects in which they have an involvement. They do not review shows that compete for the same time/date slot as a show they are involved with. They do not review shows in which there are people they are have a current significant social or professional connection with. This is self-policed but the FringeReview Editors will take direct action against any reviewers breaking this code of conduct.
The theatre world is a connected place. Our reviewers must have no close social connection with shows they are reviewing, nor an active professional relationship. We expect our reviewers always to declare a conflict of interest. Any reviewers breaking this ethic are immediately removed from the review team.
Our reviewers may sometimes also be, as theatremakers, staging their own productions or be involved in a Fringe production. Our reviewers can have their show reviewed by a FringeReview reviewer, subject to the same reviews policy as everyone else. They have no influence on that review and the reviewer must not have any kind of close social connection with the reviewer, nor an active professional connection. We trust our reviewers to remain objective but always emphasise that the reviewer is not in any way a close associate of the show they are reviewing.
If a reviewer is also producing and/or staging a show at the Fringe Festival we are covering, they may still have their show reviewed by FringeReview. However, it can only be reviewed by a reviewer with whom they have no current social or professional connection. If they’ve become friends, even temporarily, with another reviewer, then that reviewer cannot review their show. The review has to be from a reviewer they hardly know and whom all parties feel can be objective and comfortable writing freely about their show. The Editors’ decision is final.
Reviewers may well get their shows reviewed by us if they come onto the radar of other reviewers but the review process and what is written is never influenced or prejudiced in any way.
Do your Reviewers review the work of other FringeReview reviewers?
Many of our reviewers also create their own theatre or are in companies and/or productions produced by other people. At a large festival such as the Edinburgh International Fringe, they may review and perform or are attending the Fringe as producers, directors, and also reviewers.
In short, yes, one of our reviewer team can review the show of another member of our review team.
We do not believe in a reviewer with a show to present being banned from being reviewed by FringeReview.
It only becomes a conflict of interest if one reviewer has a professional practice-based or social connection with that show. Reviewers cannot review the shows of reviewers they spend time with socially. They must not have a professional connection e.g. working together on a production in the present or recent past. As reviewers at a Fringe festival, a reviewer should declare a conflict of interest if the two reviewers have spent time working together as reviewers in ways that they feel might undermine their role as an objective reviewer i.e. seeing shows together, or becoming socially connected simply through “hanging out” together at reviewer meetings.
All of this is at the Editor’s discretion who ensures that the review by one reviewer of another can only really take place if there is sufficient professional detachment similar to when a reviewer reviews shows that contain people who are not members of FringeReview’s reviewing team.
Nothing should compromise the reviewer’s ability and confidence to write as freely and honestly about a show as they would ANY show. Where there is any doubt, the Editor’s decision is final. If a reviewer consciously breaks these principles, reviews are taken down and the reviewer removed from our reviewing team. Since our founding in 2006, this has only happened on one occasion.
Our reviewers, of course, all have contact with each other at our regular reviewer meetings. But this contact is no different from meeting other theatre practitioners occasionally in the theatre world at large. They key issue is that reviewers need to be clear when that connection becomes too close or regular in ways that would undermine their ability to review objectively and ethically.
There are an equal number of cases when a FringeReview reviewer reviews another FringeReviewer reviewer’s show and gives specific feedback and a lower rating than with any show at a Fringe festival or in a region where reviewing takes place. We have no evidence that reviewers mark other reviewer’s shows more highly than shows at large.
There is no preferential treatment. During a Fringe which may last weeks, a reviewer who doesn’t know another reviewer or their work may feel comfortable to review their show and then, after a week, may not be permitted to review the same show as the two reviewers have got to know each other well socially as part of the reviewing team. Members of our reviewing teams with shows at a fringe festival often do not get reviewed because no reviewer on our team chooses to see their show!
So, we do not tolerate any partiality, favouritism of any kind when one reviewer reviews the work of another reviewer.
Copyright of each review remains with the author of that review. However, once submitted, FringeReview reserves to the right to publish that review in accordance with our policy and standards on FringeReview web sites, and for that review to continue to be shown on our sites and in our archives. If a reviewer ceases to review for us, reviews cannot be taken down from the site.
The views expressed in the reviews and other interview and preview content do not necessarily represent the views of the publication.
Please consult our standards document as well. This was created almost when FringeReview was founded and overlaps with what you have read here. It gives an idea of how our standards have been pretty solid over the years.
Please note that opinions stated in reviews and articles are those of the authors and not necessarily of FringeReview as a publication. Authors are volunteers and FringeReview attempts to monitor the content of authors but cannot guarantee the accuracy of all content.