Star ratings in theatre reviews is something that has been discussed at length by critics and magazines alike, with many different sides of the conversation pawing over the suitability and integrity of using a rating. A star rating is something I have chosen to implement for the reviews I write, and have no qualms about using these. However, I would like to take the opportunity to explain why I choose to use star ratings, and also give a bit of an explanation of what each star rating means when I award them.
This is a show of exceptional worth and talent. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s perfect. There may be some small faults with the writing, acting, or production, but it does not at all detriment what is otherwise an exceptional show.
This is a very good show. However, there are a couple of elements in the writing, casting, or production that has a noticeable impact on the show’s quality. However, these do not detriment a show by much and I would still strongly encourage people to go see it.
This is generally a good show, but elements of the writing, casting, or production noticeably detriment a show’s quality. However, there are still more than enough good elements to the show, and a 3 star rating shouldn’t discourage anyone from going to see it.
This is a fair or bad show where there are issues with writing, casting, or production significantly detriment it. There are some solid good points to be made, but these aren’t strong enough to make the show good. If you were already planning to see a show that had since received 2 stars, please don’t let it dissuade you much. There may well be something that you see good that others haven’t. Remember, audiences and critics don’t always agree!
A dreadful show with very few to no redeeming qualities. This is the lowest star rating I would ever give a show, and not something I do lightly. As much as I want to support the industry as a whole, a 1 star show is something I would urge people avoid. To me, theatre this awful should never be supported or excused. Thankfully, this is a very rare occurrence and in my six years of theatre reviewing there’s only been one instance where I’ve awarded a single star!
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