I asked myself the above question recently when I came under a barrage of negative feedback that I’m not a credible reviewer due to my awarding high star ratings? I understand the criticism and do take it on board but after seeing a fellow blogger be so open and honest in her blog recently, I felt I needed to answer my own question and my critics.

When I first started reviewing my first ever LondonTheatre1 review the company I was writing for,LondonTheatre1.comhad yet to adopt the star ratings for their reviews, which meant that when they did we were given a clear and concise measurement of how to base our ratings:

1 star – This is an appalling example of a show of its type, it fails on every or nearly every level
2 star – This is a below average example of a show of its type
3 star – This is an average to good example of a show of its type
4 star – This is a very good example of a show of its type
5 star – This is a truly superb example of a show of its type, among the best that has ever been produced.

You will see from the above that there are pretty clear guidelines on which to base a review rating. This then takes me back to my own question – am I just too easily pleased? The answer in my belief is a resounding NO!

I have recently reviewed 13 shows and whilst I have been very fortunate to watch some outstanding theatre I have not always been thinking to myself “this is going to be a 5 star show I can feel it”. There have been occasions that I have thought I’m going to be hard pushed to be positive or understand the show enough to be objective about it. There have also been times when the synopsis has left me wondering what I’d let myself in for? One such show was Stink Foot which was reportedly set in treacle?Stink Foot review I have however been very fortunate that all the shows have had one thing in common the acting in them has been outstanding.

It could be that having been a performer myself for many years that I often put myself in the shoes of the performers on stage and really get a feeling and empathy for what they are trying to achieve at the time. I usually have a companion with me, my voice of reason. Who is a very objective and hard to please person, I ask their opinion of the show and take it into consideration before writing my review and awarding the star rating.

Before seeing the show having completed my pre-show research it always starts in my mind as a three star rating and it is down to the performance of whether this goes higher or lower.

My next question is are we too hung up by the ratings awarded to a show? Sure it makes great headlines and good for PR if they are good but surely we should be looking at the content of the actual review but that will be covered off in another blog piece shortly. I never look at shows ratings before attending to review, I base my review on my viewing experience no one else’s but often feel vindicated when checking others out when mine has been published.

Remember my reviews are my own and not the views of the company I’m writing for. People often tell me that they have now taken a chance and gone to see a show that they had previously had no interest in seeing, and most importantly have thanked me for the encouragement. This happened with my Once reviewSo my reviews can’t be all bad if they encourage people to part with their hard-earned cash can they?

Reviews are great and they can encourage people to see a show but the clue is in the word they are reviews. As reviewers we are not theatre critics which in my opinion is totally different.

So in answer to my critics, we are all entitled to opinions and these are just mine. My job is to share my own personal view and to encourage theatre goers to visit mine and many others passion for live performance.

We have some extraordinarily brilliant theatre in the world. I implore you to please treat yourselves and go out and enjoy it – I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Embrace the experience and delights that are live performance!

Thanks as always for reading and if you’d like to contact me via Twitter please do so via @CTheatrePassion