The end of the year is upon us! After almost 200 shows this year, I’ve finally whittled down my top 10. Although given most of my trips to the theatre this year were repeat visits, I can’t say the list below will be much of a surprise? There was a lot of brilliant theatre this year, so I can’t say it was an easy list to make!
10. Collective Rage @ Southwark Playhouse
Jen Silverman’s one act play following 5 New York women named Betty who feel stuck at a crossroads was something I caught early in the year, but I can still recall how funny and entertaining it was. Featuring drag, boxing and writing a new version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Collective Rage was a fantastic production play about women supporting other women that basked in it’s humour.
9. End Of The Pier @ Park Theatre*
An blisteringly funny play about stand up comedy, politics, social media and how all three tie together, led by a four piece ensemble including Blake Harrison and Nitin Ganatra who gave stand out performances. The play ran for a short period over the summer at the Park Theatre but you can read my review here.
8. The Rink @ Southwark Playhouse*
The Rink had tap dancing on skates. TAP DANCING ON SKATES. HOW COULD I NOT INCLUDE THIS? The Rink follows a mother and daughter as they reflect back on their relationship in the family owned roller rink before it’s closed down. A not-so-popular gem by Kander & Ebb but definitely a better one than the more popular one that’s currently on the West End. I’m still waiting for a transfer of this production, to be honest. You can read my review of the show here!
7. Mean Girls @ August Wilson Theatre
Tina Fey’s 2003 film Mean Girls was such a staple in my life going from a tween to a teen. So when I heard it was being adapted into a musical on Broadway, I did wonder how on earth was that going to work? Turns out, it’s rather good. So much so, according to Spotify, I spent 80 hours this year listening to the cast album ALONE. Led by an exceptionally talented cast with a brilliant score by Nell Benjamin and Jeff Richmond, Mean Girls was so much fun that I didn’t want it to end. Hoping for a West End transfer soon! In the mean time you can read my review of the Broadway production here
6. Six @ Arts Theatre*
Henry VIII’s six ex-wives get to take centre stage in this 90 minute part musical part pop concert and share their side of the story. With a fantastic ensemble and a banging score by Lucy Moss & Toby Marlow, Six became so popular over the summer with runs on tour, the Edinburgh Fringe and the West End. So much so, it’s coming back to London for an open-ended run. You can read my review here but this is one not to be missed.
5. Julius Caesar @ The Bridge Theatre
A thrilling new interpretation of a Shakespeare classic was the second production at the brand new Bridge Theatre by Tower Bridge. Starring an incredible cast featuring Ben Whishaw, Michelle Fairley and David Morrisey, all of the stalls seats were removed to create an open promenade space where the audience moved around the stage. It was a truly political thriller, holding up a mirror to the politics of today. You can read my review here!
4. Fun Home @ Young Vic
An absolutely flawless production of Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron’s musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical graphic novel about the relationship with her father and both of their coming outs. I didn’t end up reviewing the show because I just couldn’t find the words to describe how perfect it really was. Again, where is the West End transfer?
3. The York Realist @ Donmar Warehouse
Not going to lie, purely booked this play because Jonathan Bailey was in it. And I ended up going to see it three times. Because it was that bloody good. Led by Bailey and Ben Batt, The York Realist is the sexiest play I’ve seen all year that didn’t contain any on stage sex. Any time their characters so much as looked at each other, it was so intense it was sweat inducing. I did a full review of the play here!
2. Emilia @ Shakespeare’s Globe
Booked this play because Twitter is hyping it up. And did! it! deliver!. Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s excellently written play about the woman Shakespeare referred to as “the dark lady” is a feminist call to arms in ensuring your voice and your stories are head. Although the play had a short run at the Globe over the summer, it’s been given a West End transfer and deservedly so. Emilia opens at the Vaudeville on March 8th (international women’s day!!) next year. Run, don’t walk to see this.
1. Company @ Gielgud Theatre*
Is anyone really surprised? As of writing, I’ve now seen Marianne Elliott’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company 10 times. Which is approximately 7 times more than I initially planned, before it opened, on seeing it. I did a huge warble about my love for this show which you can read here. And it’s been extended until March 30th! So you really have no excuse to check this show out.
What is top of your theatre list in 2018? And what are you looking forward to in 2019? Personally, I cannot wait for the West End transfer of Dear Evan Hansen and for the return of Mary Poppins!
See you in 2019.
Until next time,