It’s tough being an amateur thespian. Not only are you cursed with an occupation that sounds suspiciously like ‘lesbian’, but the acting profession can be a cruel mistress. It entails hard work for meagre pay and scant appreciation other than the fleeting applause that signifies an hour spent spilling blood, sweat and tears on stage.

Who’d want to be an actor?

Then there’s the reviewers to endure, those vultures whose barbed wit and scathing critique can reduce even the most seasoned performers to a gibbering wreck. Of course, reviewers aren’t innately unkind; they’re just doing their job, in the same way that the cops who arrested Rodney King were just doing theirs. On a good day, a reviewer can transform an ailing show; with a few choice words, they can have audiences flocking to the theatre to witness the latest must-see production. The rest of the time, sadly, reviewers are tarnished by pricks like me, dispensing zero stars because I woke up on the wrong side of bed and couldn’t convince my girlfriend to give me a blowjob before I shuffled off to assess another Fringe show.

Mickey Melillo reacts to the news of Mod’s two-star rating.

Actors enjoy a love/hate relationship with reviewers. When five-star reviews are dispensed, they love those erudite critics; when one-star indictments are served up, they hate those ignorant hacks.

Today’s sniggerific story concerns a review which falls firmly into the latter category, because here at EU, we’re not interested in praising that which is worthy: we’re more concerned with watching the world burn and lolling hard.

Step forward Mickey Melillo.

Mickey Melillo has a great name – of that we can all agree. The US thespian also has a great show to his name – of that we can also agree. Well, most of us at least. While the majority of Fringe publications have granted positive reviews to Mod, a musical about Beatlemania in 60s America, one had the temerity to demur.

The reviewer who Broadway Baby sent to cover Mod wasn’t overly-impressed with the spectacle, awarding the show two stars, which is slightly below average. That in itself may not seem like a big deal – after all, you can’t please everyone – but to Mickey Melillo, it was A HUGE FUCKING DEAL. Never underestimate the rage of a man who’s been insulted on the internet. What may pass as harmless rustling IRL is magnified 100-fold OTI, resulting in major butthurt with a slight risk of an hero.

This is the internet, where the madder you get, the harder the world laughs.

Seething at Mod’s negative review, Mickey Melillo decided to strike back in the only way he knew how: by composing a rambling counter-review of his own. He wouldn’t actually review his own show however, for this practice tends to be frowned upon. Instead, he would adopt a more credible approach: the actor would review the reviewer who’d reviewed his show. That’s right: Melillo took it upon himself to assess the qualifications of the gentleman who’d written off his beloved production.


Above: Melillo prepares to get even – by getting mad.

What followed was 900 words of butthurt, caps lock and typos. Why? Because on the internet, the only way to get your point across is by SHOUTING VERY LOUDLY and bleeding bad syntax. Only once fully rustled is it permissible to sit down and compose an interminable counter-review.

Mickey Melillo’s fatal mistake was not to take offence at an unflattering review – that much is understandable. What’s harder to comprehend is why he would counteract a minor review in a niche publication by drawing the world’s attention to it and thereby inducing the Streisand effect.

If you get pwned on the internet, take it with good grace.

When you’re subjected to a bad review, the best thing you can do is ignore it and move on. Act all butthurt and some smart-ass blogger’s bound to draw attention to it. After all, this is the internet, where the madder you get, the harder the world laughs.

 It’s not just Mickey Melillo who’s been nursing major butthurt at the Fringe. Check out Rosie Rebel’s top comment that follows this one-star review. Ouch! Scroll further down the page to rofl at her subsequent ‘apology’ which contains the following immortal lines: “I wrote to Sarah and to her editor and apologized for calling Sarah a hipster turd and a cancer tumor. I don’t think Sarah is old enough to understand what it’s like to invest ten years of her life into anything….I found this review to be borderline bullying, it’s like kid’s in high school spreading rumors with giant megaphones….I put my head on the scaffold for a life of service to others. I spent my savings to come here and to make you guys laugh. I spent a month away from my husband and my dog…I was like Achilles from the Iliad, consumed with raw emotion and a mighty lady named Aunt flow, who made me cry all over my chocolate.”

This is what the internet was invented for.

Even when Melillo’s ill-advised rant was pulled from the Broadway Baby website, it was to no avail – because Ed Uncovered had already taken a screen-grab. Don’t blame me – blame the Streisand effect, which dictates that the harder you try to hide something, the more you draw attention to it.

So without further ado, who’d like to read the butthurt review that was so lulzy it compelled EU to devote an entire blog to mocking its contents? Click on the image below to view the original review – and subsequent counter-review – in its unredacted glory.

Dat headline: there’s a fine line between taking inappropriate pot shots and taking in appropriate pot shots.

It’s hard to pick a favourite line from Melillo’s brain dump, though I’m rather fond of this little beauty:

Next time take summer classes and leave the reviewing to the professionals. 4 Star reviews from Fringe Guide and Three weeks and a 3 star review from another publication that I can’t think of the name right now. I think that proves that you are nothin more then a bully who kisses up to all the professional companies and bashes all the amateur companies which is evident from your reviews.”

As you read these words, Mickey Melillo is back in the states, his jimmies rustling angrily in the breeze. As he explains in his conclusion, “If it wasn’t for the request of the director and producers this would have been written the day it came out, but as an honorable person I gave my word and waited till we got home. Once again Michael Wilkenson is a 1 star critic….out of 5 stars.”

The moral of the story? If you get pwned on the internet, take it with good grace. Otherwise, the next thing you know, some shitty blog’s taken the story and run with it. Before long, it’s been tweeted to all their followers and shared around Facebook until it escalates into a diplomatic incident that causes the complainant to seek refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy for the next 20 years until all the butthurt’s died down.

If a reviewer has been unkind, set the record straight if you must, thespians, but beware the Streisand Effect – that bitch bites hard.