Thursday, August 12, 2004

Audience Reviews

Folks, if you've seen a show you like, let other people know.

And a great way to do so, particularly if you're shy starting up a conversation in line at the box office or sitting waiting for a show to start, is to post reviews on the Fringe website.

They needn't be long, they needn't be fancy.

Just a star rating and a few words on why you liked it.

The great thing about the audience reviews is they give other potential audience members a window in the performance that they might not otherwise have. It may help them make up their mind whether to see a show or not. It might make the difference between a show getting a good audience or not.

And the way the program on the site works, the good reviews float to the top.

Negative or constructive reviews from people who just didn't like a show are helpful in a different way, but not in a way that helps fill the seats in the theatre.

So the reviews with the highest star ratings end up on top. The web pages default to only showing the first three or so reviews. There's a link people can click to expand the window and see all reviews, both good and bad, but the bad reviews will always be on the bottom.

If I'm trying to make up my mind, I find both sets of comments useful. After all, if the reasons a person doesn't like a show would be the reasons I would like it, that still tells me I should go. Take them with a grain of salt, but those folks cared enough, or were upset/disappointed enough, to take the time to post their thoughts on a show that might otherwise have gotten no feedback at all.

However, if you liked a show, that's that much more reason to sign on and type up a little note on the show's Fringe website page. The more reviews I see a show has, the more I figure it must have struck a chord with audiences, one way or another. That intrigues me.

Also, if there's only one or two reviews, but they're glowing, and don't seem suspiciously like members of the writer or director or actors' families, then that tells me it's connecting with some people very strongly and also might be worth a look.

By all means, go and make up your own mind about shows. But help others find shows you like. Raise their profile. Write a review.

(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit

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