This session broadened the definition of cost to include the psychogical benefit and cost of getting reviews at the Fringe. It is also about the cost to the reviewers and critics.

We shared different styles and approaches to reviewing.

There can be peer and practioner-based reviews, audience reviews and also journalist/critics reviews.

Is it possble to be objective? Should we even try? Should a reviewer report their personal experience and not take into account the sometimes temporary limitations of pop-up venues, compnaies with little get-in time, and the pressures of time at the Fringe?

We heard from Sick of the Fringe who have developed, not reviews, but 'diagnoses' where someone with scientific/medical expertise reviews from an expert point of view, not a theatrecraft point of view.

FringeReview and Exuent no longer use star ratings, Fest still do. We discussed the benefits of stars (clear and easy to understand) and the reasons not to use them (everyone has a 4 or 5 from someone!).

What is theatre criticsm at the Fringe? Is it a report of only the show, or also the audience reaction? Some reviews can be very subjective and really miss accuracy in terms of what is actually in front of them. One view was that critics do not need programme notes and background info - thet should play the role of an audience member at least mostly. Another view is that a critic needs to be very informed, know a show's history etc.

Companies at the Fringe seem desperate for reviews. What about other coverage - previews, interviews?

We noticed the decline of paper publications, the 100 word review in the Scotsman for 1-star reviews. 1 stars attract readers, sell adverts.

Different publications make different assumptios about critical writing.

Critical writing is, for some, a necessary, personal and creative process.

We shared our differences in a very rich discussion.