i don't really buy any of these distinctions. Reviews simply don't interest me, but insofar as they are conceived as guides for the consumer, they are a) rubbish, and b) dumb (although i like the idea of nipping into WH Smiths to buy a copy of What Play? magazine so that you can be told which play to go to by experts who have tested all the major brands of plays to destruction). They are dumb because it is dumb to view a piece of culture solely as a commodity to be consumed by a consumer. Of course, once culture enters the market it becomes commodity, but becoming a commodity does not stop it from existing as other things as well. Other things like art, communication, expression, performance. Similarly, when you buy a ticket you become a consumer, but you're still an audience member as well, just as you're still a biological organism which can perform complex functions like breathing without having to consciously think about them. If you weren't, you'd die.
They are rubbish because any interpretive or analytical or evaluative account of a piece of art or entertainment which has a conception of art or entertainment as primarily as commodity implicit in its very raison d'etre is necessarily going to be a pretty poor account, because it will have missed the point of what entertainment or art is. Furthermore, audiences don't know what they want. This is True Fact. Even if they think they know what they want, they only know it in such a way as to make the vaguest of claims - "a show with nice songs in it", "some good physical theatre", "things that will make you laugh/cry/think". It's not quite like trying to decide whether you want a washing machine with an energy saving function, is it? When they know specifics - a show with a hollywood star in it, for example, there's no need for a reviewer to tell us that there's a hollywood star in it.
I also don't much care for the idea that criticism is distinct from reviewing because it tells you how and why things work. As a practitioner i am interested in how and why things work in the theatre. i do not go to critics to learn about that - i go to other practitioners and to teachers, who can teach me about how and why things work. As an audience member i see no reason why anyone should be any more interested in how a particular effect is achieved than they are in how the sparkplugs work in their car.
Shutters' distinction - that criticism places the work within a context (he said reductively)- is more satisfactory in that it conceives of the critic as someone who must necessarily have a sense of that wider context and so in some sense deserves their expert status. But i don't go all out for it because i believe that a piece can be great critical writing without ever placing the work in a wider context. What if the critic works inwards rather than outwards? What if they produce an account that is detailed, intelligent, passionate and witty, but fail to tick the broader context box? i still count that as criticism.
So, I'd like to propose an alternative distinction:
A review is someone saying what they think about something. It has a value of very close to nothing whatsoever on the persons unknown index of how important something is (PUIHISI). Unless the jokes are good. Someone saying what they think about something and asking you to believe it is relying soley on your perception of them as someone with expert status, someone with authority. Perhaps this is one the reasons that professional reviewers are so often keen to point out how many shows they see, as though, like someone training for the Tour de France, the more miles they have in their legs the better equiped they will be (although i'm not sure if there are any performance enhancing critical drugs on the market). The other end of the justification you often hear for this type of reviewing is that "a review is just one person's opinion." This is something that makes me angry, and there'll be a whole post on it at some point, but for now suffice to note that this is not a justification but an apology - it's effect is to reduce the value of the review as well as to disavow responsibility for it. It means it doesn't matter if what the writer writes is dumb, is biggotted, is illogical, is just plain wrong, because, after all, it's just one person's opinion. The question we might ask in response is "why on earth should anyone care about just one person's opinion? You fuck!"Criticism, on the other hand, is writing in which an argument is constructed about (/around/through/with) its subject. Its value is not conferred by the supposed authority of the author, but is found in the way the writing itself engages the reader. Writing of this kind can be "critical" in all the meanings that cloud around that word (compare this to the simple second look implied by a re-view). It can also be rubbish - there is such a thing as bad criticism just as surely as there is such a thing as bad writing and bad theatre, but it is critical that writing of this kind exist, because this form of engagement with art is valuable in itself, and because it has utilitarian value - it enables to think about art in new ways. And because it's nice to have something to talk about.