How fair is fair when reviewing a show?
I have always prided myself on being 100% honest in my reviews. Love it or hate it, I won’t sugar coat it. And from the feedback I have received from people, they value my opinion because they know if I give a good review, it really is because I liked the show/performance. Sadly, this is not always the case with everyone.
More and more often, I am hearing stories from people who write reviews of shows for various websites, only to be told their work isn’t going to be published because it is too negative. This is usually for one of two reasons. Either the editor doesn’t want to upset anyone by publishing negative things about a show or actor, (as they feel this will affect their relationship with them in future) or it is because they make money on tickets that are sold off the back of the review and so don’t want to discourage people from seeing it.
I always tell my team that they should be 100% honest in what they thought of a show, so long as the review justifies the words. Before I publish a review that has anything negative in it, I always ask myself if I would happily stand in front of that person and be able to confidently justify why I said what I did. If the answer is yes, then I publish it. If no, then I have perhaps been too harsh. Equally, I always encourage readers to go and see a show and make their own mind up about what they think. Everyone will have a different opinion on a show. Just because I hate a show doesn’t mean everyone will.