Chortle has the hardest-to-please critics at the Edinburgh Fringe, new research has shown.
Our average number of stars, over all 248 shows we covered, was 3.01. At the other end of the scale, the Edinburgh Guide, ad an average star rating of 3.92.
Most easily pleased was The Big Issue, with a 4.12 average, but it reviewed just 25 shows.
Second toughest reviewers after Chortle was Fest, which averaged 3.12 and The List – which conducted the post-festival research – with 3.15. The Scotsman was next with 3.23.
Chortle editor Steve Bennett reviewed the most shows of any critic on the Fringe, with 119. With an average score of 3.1, he was the 388th most generous of the 522 people who had reviews published in August.
The next busiest reviewer was Jay Richardson – who also reviews for Chortle as well as the Scotsman – with 85. He, too averaged 3.1 stars. The Scotsman's feared Kate Copstick was more generous, with 3.3 - the same as the Guardian's Brian Logan.
The average number of reviews written per critic was just 14.2 – suggesting many writers have little context in which to judge shows. Many reviewers had just one or two shows to their name – while there were 15 critics who saw just one show – and gave it five stars. Allan Alstead from the Ediburgh Guide, was the most generous who saw more than three shows – averaging 4.5 over the 22 shows he saw.
Bennett said: 'I think we're tough but fair... There are many small Fringe publications that are very generous with the stars, presumably for the sake of getting their names on people's posters – but a four or five star review from Chortle means something, I like to think.
'We do try to see shows across the board, not just all the big names you might expect to be done well, so surely the average on a one-to-five rating system should be three? Let's not have Michael Gove accusing us of grade inflation...'
The data was compiled from more than 7,200 reviews across all genres. Click here to read the List's story.