How to write reviews for the web by Jake Orr

Here's a handy guide to writing reviews for the web by A Younger Theatre's Editor Jake Orr.

How to write reviews for the web by Jake Orr

See more of Jake's work and AYT's reviews at

Whether you are writing a review for the latest blockbuster, or for a new gadget or fashion show, here are some top tips to get you thinking about the best approach to reviewing for the web.

Before you review:

What is it? Make sure you know exactly what it is that you are reviewing. This might be obvious at first, but it's good to have in your mind a clear image or single sentence which outlines exactly what it is you are reviewing.

Context and research. Do your research beforehand so you know about the history and context of what you are reviewing, it might aid you in your writing later.

Audience. Always have in the back of your mind who your audience is. This will change with who you are writing for and the purpose of your review.

Whilst reviewing:

Take notes. If you need to take notes whilst you review then take a notepad and pen with you. Write whatever you need to remind yourself of what you've seen later.

Devil is in the details. Make sure you look out for details that you can highlight in your review, not just the overall experience.

Experience and emotion. Your experience is key to how you'll write your review later. Consider what your experience was like, if this was positive or negative, and consider the emotional reaction too. Did it provoke you? Excite you? Anger you?

Writing your review:

Be concise. With online reviews you should keep your writing to a minimal. A good word count is around 300-400 words. Anymore and your reader might disengage. Write short and concise sentence, don't waffle.

Be human. Reviewing is subjective, it is your opinion, and whilst you might be writing for a publication you're still an individual. Allow your opinion and voice to form your writing, don't write without heart.

Be constructive: Reviewing isn't about authority; it is about being able to distil a response to something in writing. If you had a negative response, think about why and offer constructive feedback in your review.

Beginning, Middle and End. Just like a story you want to take your reader on a journey. If it helps break your review into a beginning, middle and end to guide your writing.

After your review:

Responding. If there are comments on your review be sure to respond to them. Be open and accepting of differing opinions to yours. Always be professional.

  • Image courtesy of the Jake Orr/Incoming Festival


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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