Reviewer Guidelines

Welcome to,

Reviewing a performance is not an academic essay but your comments on a specific production. 

First and foremost, remember that a review is your voice, and should reflect that. But it’s not about you; it’s about a show. And it’s not for you; it’s about the reader. So write as yourself, about someone else’s art, for the reader.

Does your review contain all the basic information the reader needs to understand your review and assess whether they want to see this play  – i.e. have you explained who the characters are etc.? Remember, they haven’t seen the play yet, so are starting from potentially zero information about it. Even if it’s Shakespeare, you can’t assume knowledge on the part of your reader.

A good review is neither simply a report of basic information (i.e. a flyer) nor an intellectual commentary designed to showcase how clever you are / how sophisticated your analysis is. It’s somewhere between the two – a report of the event that tells the reader what they need to know but which also has a layer of commentary that lets them know what you thought and enables them to assess whether they should go.

Never be afraid to criticize. You owe no show a positive review. But a review is also not an excuse to hide behind the anonymity of print. Never write anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Say what you would say to the cast/director/producer etc if you could discuss the show with them.

Think not just about acting and direction, but also about costumes, music, staging etc. There are many things that go into a good/bad production beyond the obvious.

When writing the review please note:

  • All reviews must be written in the present tense
  • Do not leave gaps in between lines (one gap between paragraphs)
  • Put the title in italic. 
  • Keep text left aligned
  • Use only one space between sentences after the full stop
  • Please make sure the name of the venue is hyperlinked to the relevant theatre‘s website.
  • Put your by-line at the end of the review
  • Ask the theatre press office for an image(s) to accompany the review
  • Reviews are to be sent to
  • Do not send your review to the press officer before its publication online. You send a link to your review, not the actual text.


The following information must be submitted by all reviewers:

Type: (is it an opera, drama, comedy, musical, pantomime, physical theatre etc)

Name of Play and

Your star rating to the performance –

☆ = very poor play and production

☆☆ = poor production

☆☆☆ = okay production but not one you are keen to see again

☆☆☆☆ = Very good production recommended.

☆☆☆☆☆ = Excellent production and performance

Please note – No half stars.

By: (name of the playwright/composer/librettist)

Music by: (if relevant)


Cast includes:  (main stars and those whose performance was exceptionally good)

Until:        (then Touring until, if applicable)

Running time:  

Running time: (the exact time including interval written as hours and minutes)

Your name

Date of the review



Twelfth Night ☆☆☆☆

By William Shakespeare

Director: Oliver Dickens

Cast includes: James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Rice

Venue: National Theatre

Until 2 July 2022 

Running time: 2hrs 50mins including interval

Review by Keen Student

15 April 2015

Once your review is live online, please email it to the relevant press officer and don’t forget to tweet it and place information on your Facebook profile. Don’t be shy to promote your review and

Many thanks and I look forward to your reviews!

Rivka Jacobson

Executive Director