Star Appeal: A look at reviewing trends at Edinburgh Festivals 2012

Full raw data sets of aggregated reviews from 2012 Edinburgh Festival shows now available

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This article is from 2012.

Star Appeal: A look at reviewing trends at Edinburgh Festivals 2012

Photo: Jim Edwards / Business Insider. Original image:

The 2012 Fringe may be a distant memory but here at The List we’ve been doing some post-festival number crunching. For the last four years we’ve compiled an aggregate of reviews from all the major publications reviewing at the Festival. The result is our top-rated page, which each August is one of the most popular pages on our site. Using the data we compiled this year we’ve done some additional analysis.

Here are the highlights:

We looked at 21 publications who published a total of 7210 reviews.

Of those 21 publications, Broadway Baby reviewed the most at 1898.

The average star rating given was 3.4. Chortle, Fest and our own publication had the lowest averages at 3.01, 3.12 and 3.15 respectively. At the other end were the Big Issue (although worth noting they reviewed a select number of shows at just 25), Edinburgh Guide and Edinburgh Festivals Magazine (4.12, 3.92 and 3.83).

There were a total of 522 reviewers in 2012. They reviewed an average number of 14.19 shows each with the range spanning from 1 to 119 (we imagine that person is probably only just recovering).

Several writers were lucky enough to see only top rated shows, with 26 awarding an average of 4.5 stars or more.

For those of you who’ve been following the debate on star inflation (see the Guardian’s Lyn Gardner on the topic, Mark Shenton in The Stage and theatre critic Thom Dibdin), perhaps this sheds some light on current reviewing trends.

Fancy doing something creative with the data? Be our guest. You can access the whole data set. All we ask is that you credit The List and include a link back to this page. Despite best efforts, we also can’t guarantee that the data is 100% accurate or comprehensive.

This article is from 2012.


1. Thom26 Sep 2012, 10:17pm Report

Thanks for linking to Mark's piece in The Stage - in it he references my original feature which was (only) published in the print edition of the paper - on September 6. I have now put up on my own website here:

One of the interesting things about examining the star ratings over the years is that the number of highly rated reviews has risen disproportionally to the rise in the number of reviews.


Thom Dibdin

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