How to Write a Review

This formula can be used for a restaurant, play, a concert, or adapted for any entertainment event.


The purpose of a review is to make your point of view known. Was it a rave review, a pan review or a mixed? You hold the power to make or break whether or not others will spend the time and money to see a performance. YOU MUST CONVINCE PEOPLE of your valid point by covering all the bases as demonstrated in the following format. It is a four part structure.


Part One: (Introduction) Describe your overall opinion of the event. Be sure to name the important people of the event (author, composer, designer, restaurant owner, chef, etc.), name of venue, and/or the name of the production/show. Basically, this part also states whether or not you like the show and IN GENERAL TERMS what was good or bad about it.This is your thesis. Great, horrible, or mixed?

Some events might have an important element that should be included in the first paragraph. For example, the Broadway production was known for its multi-million dollar set which did not work opening night. Or, the musical, Sunset Boulevard, was known for its $2 million set.


PART or paragraph Two: (Events summary) Briefly describe the ďplotĒ in order to get someone interested, just as a movie rental box or book jacket might appeal to you. If itís a book or show, DO NOT EVER GIVE AWAY THE ENDING! If itís a restaurant or dining experience, write chronologically, from entering establishment to exit.


PART or paragraph Three: (Best/worst scene/aspect) Give your opinion of the acting/performance and production/directing. Name the actors/performers and director. Be sure to give good as well as bad points. Be clever. For instance, if you thought the movie Titanic was awful, you could say the worst part was how long it was, but the best part was you knew from the get-go it was going to sink. Or, if you loved something about a movie and can't find anything bad to say, point out how the worst part was that the movie had to end... Be clever.


PART or Paragraph Four (Conclusion) After discussing some of the physical production, such as special effects, costuming, editing, etc., you should conclude your review with any final thoughts on the production/event as a whole.





Style: The best reviews show just a little of the personality of the reviewer--personal favorites might come up, and a bit of writerly flair often go over well in moderation.


AVOID lazy adjectives and verbs (awesome, good, bad, boring, interests, bores, etc.). Be vivid!

Theater: Mention famous directors, producers, actors, give basic plot summary, describe best/worst scene, audience, costs.


Sports: Venue, athlete names, teams, coaches, crowd, special events, blunders, unusual elements, climate.


Art: style, venue, artists, effect, audience, controversy, dates, summary, variety.


Music/Theater: Band members' names, set design, lights, sound, comparison to previous works, best/worst songs, remakes, length of show, type of crowd, cost of CD, and overall rating.

Fashion: designers, silhouette, audience, uses, fabrics, colors, makeup, models, venue, collection.


Books/Plays: Style of writing, audience, previous works, publisher, cost, plot summary, best/worst scene, and overall opinion. Refer to the author by their last name after the first time


How to use quotes effectively:

1.       Provide a lead-in statement or statements

2.       Write quote

3.       Provide and explanation or summary statement

4.       Donít leave quotes dangling in nowhere

5.       Make sure quotes support thesis


Restaurant Reviews: Details are as concrete as possible, always relying on a tactile sensation or a specific flavor over empty adjectives like "delicious," "amazing," or "savory." When possible, cite as many prominent ingredients as possible. This way, the audience feels like they know the dish, instead of simply relying on your taste, which we all know is subjective. Tense: Describe the restaurant in the present tense, reserving past tense only to narrate those rare experiences when you as a reviewer become visible. Include: food, service, ambiance, and any other details to make it clear.