The questions you hear being asked at the ticket desk can be useful to point our what your readers need to know.
It’s good to know what are the problems the theatre goers have that you could be solved in your review – for example
Are there special transport links if the show is off site?
Is there an adult rated content because of nudity or swearing?
Is there a special arrangement for access for wheelchairs because of a change in the set?
If you go to the Box Office in person listen in to what the audience wants so you know what people are interested in.
Keep an ideas book with you or your phone ready to note down key words fast.
If you are not near enough to the theatre to go in person ask friends and family what would their obstacles be to seeing a show you are reviewing. Alternatively check through social media accounts for the theatre and visiting company to see if there is any special facts that are useful to know .
Get ready for your ideas to erupt when you think about your audience frequently!
Using the insights you have gathered above to pick out a headline or opening line that best fits their need.
Here are some examples –
- Stop [undesired result – sitting on the sofa]
- There’s Big [desired result – laughs] In [this play]
- How to turn [magic beans] into [a giant beanstalk]
- Get Rid of [problem – boredom] Once and For All
- Never Suffer From [undesired result – a boring evening] Again
- The Quickest & Easiest Way To [desired result like make yourself laugh] is to see this show
- This Story Shows How Easily You Can [have world peace if a leader is strong]
- Give Me [short time period] and I’ll Give You [3 reasons to see this show]
- How [name of character] Got [result of the play] Without [undesired result] is unbelievable and this show tells us how!
- To People That Want To [desired result – cry out their inner feelings] But Can’t Get Started – see this show
The Theatre may offer tours of the building and let you know about talks from the company performing on stage.
Later on in the book there are questions to ask should you go to a show related event that will give you more to write about in your review.
Keep expanding on the enjoyment that is out there for the reader so you will be the authority they return to. For this to work don’t exaggerate your claims!
It’s super fun when you know what people are interested in although one of the things people get narked about is a show being very different to how it was billed.
After all, you could argue that no show is bad it’s just not what the viewer wanted to see at the time.
Nothing worse being sat in the middle of a retelling of ‘War and Peace’ when you wanted something short fluffy and cheery.
One of the problems with show titles is they don’t always tell you what the show is about or what feelings the show will pull out.
The publicity poster doesn’t always help.
I once saw a brilliant military drama called ‘Topless Mum’ that used a mild porno shot as the publicity photo. The show was well written had good production values and a great cast. It could have reached more people if you knew this was something you could go and see quite comfortably with your mum. It had an amazing twist and the end and no seedy content as the title had pointed to. In short, it deserved to pull a bigger crowd and an honest review would help!
By telling people that the show is worth their attention or giving them enough of the right info they can make their choice is important.
Our resources are precious – time money and attention and emotion are some of things we don’t get back.
This is why we outline the story of the show.
And that’s what we will do next.
Just get the opening line for review written now and then flick the page.