Introduce the show expanding on the information above. Remember to think about the four W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why. Who wrote / directed / produced the show? What is the subject of the show about generally? Where did the show take place? Is it a new piece of writing or has it been on before? And why is this show relevant to audiences today?
In the following paragraphs, briefly introduce the plot or what happens in the show without revealing the details of the ending. Tell us about the main characters (put the actor’s names in brackets after their character’s when first introducing them) and how the story begins to unfold. And remember reviews are written in the present tense as if the show is happening in front of you (e.g. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy about two lovers from feuding families).
For the main body of your review, focus on the performance and give us a sense of what it was like to see the play by describing examples of what you saw on stage. Always critique through example. If it was a violent play, describe a scene that shocked you. If it was funny, tells about a scene that made you laugh. Be specific and give us details, then tell us whether it worked or not. Remember that your reader won’t have seen the play, so don’t assume that they will know what you’re going on about.
Once you’ve established the story and the main thrust of the action, tell us about the production. Think direction, set design, costume and lighting. Ideally, you want to be writing about these elements alongside your impressions of the performance. Is a performance helped or hindered by any the production? How?
To conclude, reflect on the themes of the play and make a judgement about the success with which the show has explored them. And try to avoid beginning the paragraph with phrases like ‘to conclude’, ‘in summary’ etc. Give a brief summary of your thoughts and re-cap the main elements of the review in general.
End with a witty sign-off if appropriate – or try end with a sentence considering how the show is relevant for audience’s today. Why is it worth seeing? If it’s not, why does it fall short of its aims?
[Title of show if theatrical] is showing at the [name of venue] from 12 - 25 September. For more information, visit the [name of venue's] website.
Here's an example review to demonstrate how it's done: