2021 Favourites List

Another year has passed and another opportunity for me to apologise for pretty much abandoning my website. I went through a bit of a hard slump at the start of the year where I really didn’t enjoy blogging. But with the shows I’ve seen towards the end of 2021, I started to really enjoy it again. Hoping to continue on with this into 2022 and to start with I’m presenting my favourite theatre/films/music that I particularly enjoyed in 2021.

THEATRE

As soon as theatres opened up, I really wanted to see as many shows as I possibly could squeeze in. I really wanted to prioritise seeing newer shows and ones I hadn’t seen before, since there will always be more opportunity to see the long runners. That said, one of my favourite shows of the year I ended up seeing 6 times in 1 summer. It’s been a really strong year for theatre, in my opinion, and my favourite shows definitely echo other top shows of the list I’m sure. This isn’t really in any particular order, but my favourite shows of the year are as follows.

  • Be More Chill at the Shaftsbury Theatre.

I ended up seeing Be More Chill with my friend Anais just after the show began performances at The Other Palace. And it was so good, I actually reviewed it voluntarily. Like many shows, the run was cut short because of COVID. But the show did get to finish what it started when the production moved to the Shaftesbury Theatre just as theatres were reopening. I really loved this show, I get it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it really did bring a lot of joy to people. Plus the show had some truly fantastic performances including Stewart Clarke as the SQUIP which was one of my favourite performances this year. The final performance of the run at the Shaftesbury was one of my favourite experiences in 2021 (bless up, the floating red balloon). Very happy to have seen this again and to have seen this 6 times over the summer.

  • Anything Goes at the Barbican

Pure first class escapism at it’s finest. Going to the first preview was an incredible experience. Standing ovations galore and the applause Sutton Foster got when she made her entrance seemed to go on forever. You could instantly feel the audience holding their breath when the title number started out of pure anticipation. And oh did it deliver. This was an absolute joyous show and now we get to watch it on BBC iPlayer anytime we want. Incredible choreography, instant joy and features some incredible standout performances from Carly Mercedes Dyer and Robert Lindsay.

  • Frozen at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

This was the one I was anticipating the most this year. Watching the first preview of Frozen was unbelievably exciting for me, as a Disney fan, as a Frozen fan and – more importantly- as a full time Samantha Barks stan. I started welling up when she stepped on the stage. And her performance as Elsa was truly astonishing. She makes one half of a wonderful pairing with Stephanie McKeon as Anna who was equally as brilliant. The whole show is a truly wonderful spectacle and I’ve been back 2 more times since. A real delight in the West End.

  • Operation Mincemeat at Southwark Playhouse

I finally got to see the musical theatre twitter had been banging on about! A truly delightful show devised by the company about an operation that actually took place during world war 2. This was truly hilarious with a fantastic company and I’m so happy it’s coming back to the Southwark Playhouse in 2022 so I can go and relive it again. So excited for more people to see this.

  • The Tragedy of Macbeth at Almeida Theatre

A production that ended up being my favourite play of the year. I had previously seen a couple of plays directed by Yael Farber that weren’t my cup of tea, so I wasn’t really expecting much from this. But with James McArdle and Saoirse Ronan at the helm, I should’ve realised this was going to be really bloody good. I see a lot of shows and it takes a lot to leave me stunned/speechless at the end of it. But I truly believe there wasn’t a better nor stronger leading male performance in a play this year than James McArdle’s as Macbeth. He was truly incredible. My friends and I were lucky to have seats quite near the front so we perhaps got to see more than others. But he really threw every single fibre of his being into his performance. There was one part of act 2 where he cut his leg, visibly bleeding and yet he just carried on. I also still think about the scene where Macbeth encounters Banquo’s ghost, he practically threw himself off his seat. A truly sensational performance, all the awards for him please.

FILMS

I acquired a Cineworld membership at the end of 2019 and I wish I could have had a full year to really enjoy it, but like with theatre I did try and get to the cinema as much as I possibly could. The below is a list of my favourite films that I saw this year both either in the cinema or on streaming, all films below come highly recommended (and spoiler alert; they’re not all musicals!)

  • Tick, Tick, Boom
  • Spiderman: No Way Home
  • In The Heights
  • West Side Story
  • C’mon, C’mon
  • King Richard
  • Promising Young Woman

MUSIC

As she does with every year, Taylor Swift continued to win by dropping 2 of her re recorded albums this year. The first was Fearless (Taylor’s Version) which made me feel so nostalgic as the original (stolen) version was the one that made me become a fan of hers back in 2008. And Red is one of my top 4 album of hers and she’s somehow made an already excellent album into a brand new masterpiece. I can’t wait to see what she drops in 2022. Personally I’m hoping for Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version) to come this year. But outside of Taylor’s music, here are a few more albums that were released this year that I absolutely loved.

  • Sour – Olivia Rodrigo
  • Into The Unknown – Samantha Barks
  • If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power – Halsey
  • One Foot In Front Of The Other – Griff
  • You Signed Up For This – Maisie Peters
  • Tick, Tick, Boom soundtrack

Here’s to consuming more theatre, films and music in 2022! What were your favourites in 2021? And what should I be eagerly anticipating in 2022?

Until next time,

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