top of page
  • Writer's pictureGraham Richardson

Fringe Rating System

Updated: Aug 22, 2018

The beauty of taking part in the Fringe is that you can see a lot of shows in a short space of time. There will be some excellent shows, many terrible ones, too many average ones and a few that you will think of as special. The great thing is that one person's flop is another person's life changing experience. There are no rules and no guidelines. This is Edinburgh..

There are many reviewers at the Fringe, and whatever I say, it looks like I am going to try and become one of them. Reviewers can be great. Shows use them to get stars and stick nice positive things on their flyers. Five star reviews given by anyone from The List to your mum on the Fringe website are gold dust for performers.

Nonetheless, stars are not always a helpful guide for the public. I have seen really positive reviews where the author concluded by handing out three stars and vice-versa. So I do not want to do that.


I prefer to talk about Fringe shows according to the way they make me feel. Now there are many analogies I could use to describe these feelings, but, if you know me at all, you know what I am about to say.

My rating system will be based on birds. If you are confused why, just take a look around the rest of my website.


Yup. Now that is sorted, we can move on

The list below is not exhaustive, but a good place to start. Please, performers if you ever read any of these, feel free to stick your bird on the flier as well as stars. That would be a beautiful thing indeed.

All Round Good Show, Gannet - Most people like a gannet, and remember it when they have seen one. They recommend seeing gannets to their friends. I hope to see a lot of gannets at the Fringe.

Fine, Dunnock - I like dunnocks, they are common and necessary. But you probably see them every day and do not really remember. I will see a lot of dunnocks at the Fringe.

Impressive/Beautiful, Peregrine Falcon - You just have to look at them in awe and think, wow, this is amazing or wow, something about this is really beautiful.

Pure Entertainment, Splendid Fairywren - Just watch it and have fun.

A Thinker, New Caledonian Crow - You have got to marvel at how intelligent this bird is whether you like it or not. The same goes for some shows.

Thought it Would be Better, Mustached Puffbird - These show are not necessarily bad but just do not live up to their promise (or catchy titles). When I heard about the mustached puffbird I wanted it to be great. I was disappointed.

Weird, Shoebill - Good or bad is context dependent.

Good try but something (or everything) does not fit, Blue Footed Booby - Definitely gets points for trying. These types of Fringe shows can still be good, but often only if you are feeling generous. (I want to clarify that blue footed boobies are obviously amazing, but also a bit of a mess...)

Special, The Blue Tit - Ever since I studied them, blue tits have been special to me. Make all the jokes you want, I do not care. This is also the way I feel about a few shows.

Unimaginative, Archaeopteryx - Hey, I am certain the archaeopteryx was great in its time. But we have moved on.

Cringe Inducing, Cardinal - Some shows are so awkward that they make me turn the colour of this cardinal.

Offensively Bad, Wasp - On a rare occasion I get angry that I have been made to pay or even just sit down to watch a show. You have to work hard for this badge. There is no bird that elicits this response in me, so the wasp takes its place.



bottom of page