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Guide on How to Write a Play Review

how to write a play review

It is not so difficult to write a play review, especially if you can clearly express your thoughts and have already written a couple of reviews. If you don’t know how to write a review of a play, this article will introduce you to the basic rules of review writing!

The impetus to creating a review is always the need to express one’s attitude towards the read book or a seen play or film. In addition to personal opinion, the review should also point out the objective moments. For better understanding, it would be nice to study basic information about theatrical art and the criteria critics use while judging particular performances.

The ordinary reader can say “I like or dislike it” about the seen play without proof. The reviewer, however, must thoroughly substantiate his opinion with a deep and well-reasoned analysis.

Tips on How to Write a Play Review

  1. Carry out preliminary work. Read the text of the play on which the performance is been staged. Find out when and where it was already performed. The best is to visit the performance several times to test your first impression. When booking a ticket, choose a place where the scene is clearly visible. After the performance you can have a small talk with the actors.
  2. Grab a notebook and pen when going to the play. Making notes in the dark is not very convenient, but this is a necessary part of the work. Draw how the scene looks, and write down the props you liked and all your impressions that arose during the performance that can later be forgotten. Returning home, it is better to immediately re-read all the notes and make sure that you will understand your fussy handwriting.
  3. Mentally or on a sheet of paper, make out the outline of the article, and determine its structure. Remember that any text should have a beginning and a logical conclusion. Events, facts, or any other information must be stated sequentially.
  4. Do not rush to write a review. Within a few days, go back to the performance mentally, and compare first impressions with the aftertaste. After that, you can start writing the text itself. In the first part of the article it is necessary to provide brief information about the theater, as well as the main director and his previous performances. Also check more information about how to write a review on a written play and highlight important points.
  5. Write an analysis of the content. Think about what idea the director wanted to show the audience, and what atmosphere was at the play. Analyze several important episodes, note the original director’s decisions, and the actor’s findings. Give arguments regardless of whether you praise or scold. It is very important to maintain objectivity, even if the whole performance left you deeply unsatisfied. You can find positive aspects in any performance.
  6. Appreciate the actors’ game. Calling the characters of the play by name, do not forget to indicate in the brackets the names of the actors who performed the roles. It is not necessary to list in detail all the actors. Make sure you mentioned those whose game really hit you.
  7. Write about decorations and costumes. Tell us about color solutions, light scenarios, and how the form helped to disclose the content. It is worth giving a few words to the work of the choreographers, costume designers, and make-up artists.
  8. Arrange the conclusion. Write an introduction if you have not written it yet. Re-read the finished article several times, checking it for grammatical, punctuation, stylistic, and other errors. Check the text in accordance with the requirements of your tutor.

If it is difficult for you to formulate at once what the article will be about, start writing it from the main part, and add the introduction at the end, when the finished text will be before your eyes. When writing a text, remember that sentences in paragraphs should be related to each other in meaning, and each new paragraph should logically follow from the previous one. Also it will be essential to write down the main points of how to write a review of a play on a sheet of paper and leave it behind your eyes – this will help to better organize your writing.

Questions That Help When Writing a Play Review

  1. What is the overall impression of the play? Did your previous views of the characters match those you got from the actors’ performances?
  2. How did the actors’ ensemble manage to convey the main theme and idea of the play?
  3. What actors were the most convincing and original? If you saw this actor in another role, then what role was the best?
  4. What seemed to be lacking in scenic or lackluster in the played actions?
  5. What tragic or comedic scenes captured your attention on the stage?
  6. If you previously saw this performance with the actors of another theater, in the production of another director and other performers, then compare the performances.
  7. How does the scenic setting (costumes, scenery, lighting, props) and music help to enhance the impressions of the performance?
  8. The performance as a whole is the collective success of the actors and the director.

Sample Review Plan

  1. Bibliographic description of the work:
    For the film and play – title, director, theater (what you know about it), in which year the play was staged, and number of performances.
  2. Brief information about the author, director.
  3. The plot of the work, the most vivid episodes (explain the choice).
  4. The creative intention of the author and his implementation (theme, idea, problems raised by the author, the features of director’s intention, and difference from the book).
  5. Features of the genre and composition.
  6. Evaluation of characters and the actors’ performances.
  7. The problems of the work: its relevance and significance.
  8. Writing techniques, director’s findings (creative interpretations, impressions about the stage design, musical accompaniment, special effects).
  9. Means of expressing author’s and director’s design.
  10. Personal impressions of the reviewer (should be traced throughout the work, whether your expectations coincided with what you have seen).

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If you are still wondering how to write a play review, check out How to Write a Theater Review by Yourself!

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