It is that week of the year when the Exchange District in Winnipeg becomes overwhelmed with excitable theatre-goers, looking for the "best" show, some curry, and a beer. For me, the BEST show is one that gives you all three at once!
In honesty though, we can all get caught up in the reviews, the drama (offstage) and the politics (back stage) so lets' try not to this year, by following my simple steps.
Performers - Be honest and truthful to the show and performance you have worked on. Remember that only very rarely are we in a "hit", and that one person's opinion is just that - one person's opinion. Share your work earnestly because really that communion between audience and performer is all we've got. Don't be upset by a poor review, and don't fly high from a good review. Remember that 3 stars is actually a pretty good review! It is not the disaster it may initially feel like. Just keep performing your show. Truthfully. And to quote Genet, "if it is done well, they won't be bored".
Audiences - Stay true to your tastes. See shows that seem interesting to you based on their write up in the program, poster, etc. Don't get caught up in the "hit" show - I've seen many things reviewers have touted as 5-star and been disappointed. At the same time I've seen loads of things that were "average" or worse, and been transported by fantastic writing, performances, and overall production. If you see something you like, share that with someone. If you see something you don't like, try to assess the piece on its own terms, not based on your tastes. We're a communal art, after all, so the most important thing to do is share your thoughts.
For any who usually follow my reviews, this year I'll be part of the CBC Review Crew - so the vast majority of my thoughts will be available here: http://www.cbc.ca/manitoba/features/fringe/
Happy fringe-ing (and curry-eating!)
PS - remember that loads of "fringe" shows happen outside the festival and throughout the rest of the year, so plan to FRINGE ON ;)