The Reviewers

The Reviewers is a new musical created by students and recent graduates from the University of Nottingham. It follows the story of the bitter Keira Cochrane, played by Maddie Hardy with sufficient malice, who starts her own corrupt reviewing institution after being panned by critics in her own angsty student production that was first performed in the 80’s. Thirty years year later, the Royal Mile has become a place of fear and the only way to ensure a good review is through either bribery or promiscuity. With a new mysterious reviewer arriving on the scene, times are beginning to change...

‘But why only three stars?’ I hear you ask in a harmonised chorus. Unfortunately I’m going to have to quote Cochrane’s final ballad: It’s the writing that’s to blame!

Lyle Fulton plays The Reviewer with No Name, with both the naivety and suaveness needed to pull off the role and his love interest Laura, played by Aimee Gaudin, adds some really touching moments to the piece. Nikki-Lee Clarke acts as Rosie, Kiera Cochrane’s daughter. Clarke should be commended for her incredible ability to always add a fresh energy to each scene. The prize for best performance in this production, for a change, must go to the ensemble. Sam Greenwood and Penny Bainbridge completely steal the show with their one liners, audience commentary and subtle theatre analysis. They deliver their lines with such great panache and gusto that the audience are left in stitches.

‘But why only three stars?’ I hear you ask in a harmonised chorus. Unfortunately I’m going to have to quote Cochrane’s final ballad: It’s the writing that’s to blame! Sadly, the first half of the show moves too slowly. There are just a few too many static ballads that go on too long and feel like fillers and the moments that are funny are somewhat ruined by the fact that you can hear the other actors talking offstage. The second half hour of the show however is brilliant. The satire comes quick and fast, and the are some brutally hilarious moments. One that stands out is the ‘review off’ between The Reviewer With No Name and Cochrane’s assistant Giles, brought to life by the ever so dishy Eoin Buckley. It parodies a western stand-off complete with iPhones in holsters and Facebook likes instead of bullet holes.

The direction should not be overlooked; although there is limited choreography. There are some great artistic decisions that I loved, mainly the recreated Royal Mile Fringe pillars that make up the set. As well as this, the fact that pianist/Musical Director Katherine Tye is onstage interacting with the actors as the show goes on is priceless.

Reviews by Will Jackson

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The Blurb

'It’s not business– it’s personal.' Spawn of the West End Reviews, headed by the conscienceless Keira Cochrane, make Edinburgh a miserable place to be during Fringe month. The city is rife with bribery, corruption and generically angsty student shows. So when the Critic with No Name rides into town with a new brand of objective critique, sparks will fly as thick and fast as the vindictively-worded reviews. Parodying everything from Les Miserables to Dirty Harry, The Reviewers is an irreverent new musical comedy that’ll make you ask yourself one question: Are you feeling objective? Well, are you punk?