We strive to make our reviews as informative as possible. Part of this is supplying a star rating as a guide to the quality of a work. Our reviewers are given specific guidance on how to grade a piece. Star ratings should follow the following structure:
5 STARS. EXCELLENT. Truly exceptional. This rating should be used sparingly for a truly outstanding piece. These are experiences that you are imploring the reader to see. You should not be able to find any real fault with what is before you, and it should offer something out-of-the-ordinary, push its artform in a new direction and/or be of flawless quality. Overall, close to perfect.
4 STARS. VERY GOOD. Well worth checking out. A recommended production or event. This piece of work has few flaws and is only let down by one or two moments of poor quality, or because it fails to achieve its objectives in one or two minor ways. Its appeal should be obvious even to non-lovers of the artform concerned.
3 STARS. GOOD. Not for everyone, but fine within its field. Most pieces of work that meet their aims and please the viewer fit into this category. There may be noticeable flaws in the work and/or it might fail to push itself beyond a comfort zone, but it is nevertheless of a decent standard, and a dedicated fan of this type of work would find it worthy of consideration.
2 STARS. FAIR. Exercise caution. Works in this category show flaws which significantly detract from the experience and/or fail to really get to grips with their objectives. They might still have moments of quality, and can still be enjoyed, but they could usefully be improved on in a major, identifiable way.
1 STAR. POOR. Best avoided. Works in this category are very flawed. They offer little or no insight, suffer from low production values and/or achieve virtually none of their discernible aims. This may also include forms of material (for example, content that is needlessly and pointlessly offensive) that turn the viewing experience into an unpleasant one. Overall, this is a warning label for readers to stay away from this production.
0 STARS. UNREVIEWABLE. This category is reserved for works that cannot be reasonably reviewed. Either the production didn’t take place in the planned manner, or something took place that makes providing an assessment impossible or unfair. This should be used extremely rarely and only in consultation with the relevant editor.