What Makes an MoT Fringe Rave (includes a list of all Rave Reviews)

Graphic saying "MoT is Raving"

How come Mooney on Theatre doesn’t have a star rating system? What the heck is a Rave Review? What makes a show a Rave anyway?

People have been asking, we’ve been answering individually, but it’s time for a big group answer.

There’s also a big list of all our Rave Reviews down a the bottom in case you’ve been looking for something like that.

When I started this publication I was adamant that these reviews be accessible, and very clearly about the writer’s experience. This was not the place for academic analysis, we theatre geeks needed to put our geekery away, this was to be a place to showcase reviews for non-theatre people. With that, for MoT, comes no place for ‘star ratings’.

Star ratings imply some sort of ‘objective’ assessment of a show. Clearly, we know that’s not the case when we think about it, but the first blush reaction, the way we are influenced by it, is not the same thing as sitting down and critically examining these things.

During Fringe though, we were asked so often what shows our writers loved that we started to develop tools to let people know, and eventually the Raves came to be. Essentially a Rave Review is just that, a review where the writer really really loved the show. There is nothing objective about it. It is simply that reviewer raving about that show.

How does a writer decide whether or not something is a Rave? Well, it’s entirely up to the individual writer’s discretion. We tell them it’s a pretty good indication it’s a Rave Review if:

  • If they walk out of a show feeling like they just need to tell everyone to go see this show;
  • If they are in line for their next show and feel compelled to tell strangers they have to go to the show they have just seen;
  • If they walk out and immediately text a bunch of friends telling them to get tickets to this show;
  • If they walk out and immediately buy a ticket to see it again

But really, everyone has their own criteria, and that’s okay because a Rave is a pretty personal thing. Essentially it means they loved it, and that’s enough to rave about it.

But remember not to *just* focus on the Rave Reviews or the NNNNN shows. Those are all just one person’s opinion. Check out all the reviews, sometimes you read a review and even though the reviewer didn’t like it you think, “That sounds like my kind of thing!”

A lot of the shows MoT writers have raved about have also generally been getting a lot of buzz. If you’re thinking of going to one of them, it’s always a good idea to check in on the ‘Sold Out‘ page on the Fringe website to check the status. A little Fringe tip – if a show is sold out, but you really want to see it, you can get to a venue very early and get yourself on a waiting list for any tickets that have been released the day-of, there are always a few available that way.

Now that you know how the reviews are chosen and what it means to get a ‘Rave’ from Mooney on Theatre, see below for a full list of all the shows our writers are raving about.


Rave 2018 Toronto Fringe Reviews from Mooney on Theatre

One thought on “What Makes an MoT Fringe Rave (includes a list of all Rave Reviews)”

  1. Thanks for the good explanation of subjective “rave” ratings by MoT reviewers. About a quarter of MoT reviews reached “rave” status. That may be similar to high-star ratings by other reviewers who rely more on technical assessments. Keep it up!

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