[ Please note that as of July 2013, I moved away from banana rating and now use the universal standard star rating]
If you are on this site and read reviews then the star rating needs no introduction. While there are plenty of publications and sites that opt to not post a star rating, there are many which do, myself included.
Personally I admit the system is flawed as there is no one true consistent rule of thumb when it comes to awarding stars but all the same it can be very handy especially during festivals when there is just so much to see, and you want to only pick shows that have been received well by reviewers and the general public alike.
As star ratings are highly discretionary and dependent on the reviewer’s personal tastes, I would definitely recommend – time allowing – reading the body of the review too to learn more in detail about what the show is about. Then make up your own mind based on what you have gleaned from the review. Check out other reviews too. And sometimes, just take a chance! Give something a go and who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised…
For those who wish to know, here’s a very general and basic rundown of the meaning behind my star ratings:
(/1 banana) = Not very enjoyable, unfortunately
(/2 bananas) = Below average with lots of room for improvement
(/3 bananas) = Average overall – good effort, enjoyable and worth the ticket price
(/4 bananas) = Missing that little bit of “magic” but otherwise excellent
(/5 bananas) = Extraordinary and exceedingly superb – pretty much perfect