by Jim Murchison
In Cameryn Moore's creating a/broad column she speaks of frustration over ratings she received at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She was not unhappy with the review; just the star system that was attached to it. We live in an age where there is such an abundance of information on just about anything, that we quick scan and choose based on what immediately catches our eye.
The problem with the star system is that it explains nothing and is just one person’s opinion. In the case of the Edinburgh festival it didn’t even accurately reflect the writer’s opinion on the quality of the play. A rating system as to content or age appropriateness would likely be more useful where someone has 50 to 100 or more choices to make. I like to know what a show is about without being told the entire story and it’s helpful to know a bit about how it was executed so I can make up my mind. Whether it is family or adult oriented matters to me if I am bringing someone with me, but there are some people out there that will not even consider going to see any show under four stars if they have budgeted time and money for 10 shows where there are 100 choices.
Some people I talk to who have never been to a Fringe Festival, see the promotional pictures in Metro or on the front of the local papers and believe that everything at the Fringe is offbeat and that all the content is about fringe elements of society. In truth the only thing that is consistently on the fringe is the budget, so anything that can help to promote a larger audience is of paramount importance to someone trying to meet their bottom line.