Many people write theatre (or even movie) reviews that just leave much to be desired. As someone that participates heavily in thatre, I am really scrutinous when it comes to the reviews that are written. If I’m going to spend $60 on tickets to a show, I want to know what to expect from the production as a whole, not what the summary is. Movies are different in this respect, as not a lot of plotlines are known for movies. But, when you compare Annie to Frequency, which storyline do more people know? I may not be a world famous expert on theatre, but I do believe that I can help you write a better theatre review. After all, I’ve bee involved in Show Biz since I was a little kid, and now I am the Editor of a national magazine. So, I present to you:
Candice’s Five Step Guide To Writing Theatre Reviews
STEP ONE: Don’t Summarize!
That is the biggest pet peeve I have when it comes to reading theatre reviews. If I’m going to see a new production of an old show, I don’t want to hear what happens in the script. I want to know how the actors act within the script! For example, if I read a review on Guys and Dolls, I really don’t want to read something to the effect of, “There’s this gambler who likes this mission lady. He takes her to Cuba, but I don’t think that should have happened because it’s completely unbelievable…” People, come on. This is a show. I know it’s hard to suspend your disbelief when it comes to movies, but it’s a lot easier when it comes to theatre. Most of these scripts have been out for decades. They’re not going to change.
STEP TWO: How Do The Actors Act?
This is so important, and so many people leave it out. They talk about the characters, not how the actors play the characters. That is so important! I don’t want to hear that Enjolras was stupid for leading such a small band of Rebels in the Revolution… I want to read how amazing Ron Bohmer was in playing the role and how he acted with leading the Rebels. Give everyone credit. Justify your reasoning for not liking (or really liking) an actor’s performance.
STEP THREE: Don’t Forget The Production Crew!
A lot of work went into designing the sets and lighting and everything else you see on stage besides the actors. Comment on it! I want to know what to expect in the production design and such. Sometimes, the set and props make the whole show! This is an area that needs a little more attention. Even if it’s just one sentence, please say something about it.
STEP FOUR: Was It Worth It?
Was it worth the $65 you paid per seat to sit in the orchestra, or would you be able to see the show equally well from the higher seats? Forewarn your readers so that they have an equally good – if not better – time than you had at the show. Was the show worth any money at all? Perhaps your readers should just skip the production all together. Was the time you spent going to it worth it? Perhaps taking in a shorter play may be better.
STEP FIVE: Be Honest.
Just because your friend loved the show doesn’t mean that you have to. If you didn’t like it, say so. Justify your reasons. If you loved it, say so. Justify your reasons. It’s that easy. Don’t mislead people. If it’s something that you enjoyed, but has an acquired taste (ie- Performance Art), please let people know.
That’s all I have to say about that. I hope my little guidelines help you out. I look forward to reading your theatre reviews!