Geoff Evans from One4review kindly answers the questions this week.
How do you choose which shows to review?
Well, this is an inexact science for me. I devour the Fringe brochure two or three times highlighting shows that attract my attention. Sometimes this is because I have seen the artist before, or one of the team have, or I have heard good things about from other sources, word of mouth, seen on TV read articles about or have received publicity from PR’s or direct from performers themselves or just appeal from the brochure. Once I have done this I build a MS Access database and fill it with information as to when shows are on, dates times, venues and try to maximise the number of shows I can see allowing time to travel, eat etc
Have PR people ever persuaded you go and see a show?
What’s the best way to get you into a show?
Send me a well-prepared press release early. I tend to plan my first two weeks pretty solidly starting towards end of June, leaving week three to pick up things that have come to my attention during the first week or two.
What are the best shows you’ve seen at the fringe?
Almost impossible to answer that. I am fortunate that I have seen many great shows over the years. Every year there are a surprise or two as well thank God.
Can’t really ask about the best without mentioning the worst. What are the all time stinkers?
Student reviews in general are my bete noir. They are either surreal or self-indulgent most of the time.
Have you ever caught anyone altering one of your reviews for their shows on posters?
Not directly altering one of my reviews, but there has been a number of very, very selective editings. I did use every word quoted, but not in the same sentence. Their ‘interpretation’ was certainly not what was actually said.
Do you think free shows are good for the fringe?
In principal I think it is an excellent thing, but I feel they tend to be a little unorganised. Venues I’ve attended seemed to have no one coordinating the acts, or even occasionally pointing potential viewers in the right direction.
Also because audiences are not financially investing in the show initially they occasionally don’t give the best of order to the acts and often walk in and out at will.
How do you think free shows can improve and be taken more seriously?
I think they are certainly starting to be taken seriously. It will do no harm having a ‘Nominee’ for the Comedy award this year. I think a tightening up of the way venues are run would help, also some of the venues used are somewhat out of the main areas. Okay that is stretching the boundaries of the Fringe, but I am not so likely to cross the city to see a Free show when there is another I can see five minutes walk away. I feel some of the venues are not very salubrious as well, which may deter people actually going in.
Is there any magic formula for a good show or is it simply a case of you know one when you see it?
If I knew the magic formula, then I would be doing a better job, and far richer than Simon Cowell. Joking apart there is no formula that one can work towards like following directions. It is the elusive, I hate to use the term, X Factor, but it just clicks. Doing comedy, as I know you do mainly, well it’s even more difficult to pinpoint. Many millions like Lee Evans, Ricky Gervais and even Little Britain. I personally wouldn’t cross the road to see any of them.
The joy in discovering a show is magnificent when you see it is mostly what I yearn for each year.
One4review is a non-profit making review site set up by Geoff Evans and Sheila Kay Jack in 1999