How to get your show reviewed and keep the critics happy by Paul Vale


It’s hard work creating your own cabaret. When you’ve finally got a show you’re proud of, found a venue, sold the tickets and rehearsed the band it only natural to want a little critical recognition. Cabaret critics are in great demand; they can’t see every show they’re invited to. If you want your show reviewed, here’s a great interview with critic Paul Vale. Paul has reviewed shows for The Stage newspaper for almost 20 years, he also writes for Musical Theatre Review, was a judge for Channel 4’s Faking It and part of the panel for the most recent London Cabaret Awards.

As far as cabaret is concerned Paul particularly enjoys burlesque but is always happy to review new work. He loves to be surprised, “I rarely look at my press release. I like go along and see what it gives me.” If you want to get Paul along to review one of your shows, he says simply “Invite me. I won’t always be able to come but do ask.”

In this interview Paul explains his approach to reviewing, how he deals with shows he doesn’t personally enjoy (even though everyone else seems to) and when he’s prepared to write a strongly negative review.

Find a good PR representative

It can be very useful to have a good PR person with the right connections. If they known the reviewers you want to attract personally they’ll probably have much easier access than you. Bear in mind The Stage will only review shows which are running for three weeks after press night, those running as part of a season or shows which feature a major name.

Don’t expect your review to end up in print.

You might just get a few short tweets, but even they can be valuable; sometimes a short quote is all you need.

If you want get your show reviewed, here are Paul’s top tips:

  • Start by inviting the reviewer. Don’t be shy.
  • Polite persistence pays. If they are unable respond to the first invitation, keep trying.
  • Don’t present a press night with no one in the audience – give away every ticket possible.
  • Don’t encourage your PR rep to buy the reviewers drinks before the show. It makes Paul think they need him to be drunk to enjoy it!

If you’ve got a great show you want reviewed, click here to find Paul on Facebook. He’s waiting to hear from you!

Recorded in London on 11th October 2014.

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