We’ve approached the end of another year and another decade too.
I’d like to say a quick thank you for taking the time to read my reviews this year. I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of you who check out my analysis of productions across the country.
This year I’ve seen over 70 performances from Edinburgh to Porthcurno, Blackpool to London. This post is going to run through my top 10 productions of the year. I hope it shows that no matter where you are in the country (or how much you pay) you can get an excellent night out.
10) One Man Two Guvnors at Derby Theatre
Derby Theatre successfully restaged this hilarious comedy. Within the intimate space of their auditorium, they wrap you into this world of escapism with a mix of great music in between. The production was full of visual and verbal comedy displayed through a talented cast. I’m thrilled I managed to catch this one.
9) Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the London Palladium
I wanted to see if this production lived up to the hype and it did. A bold and bright new production with a stunning new Dreamcoat. I loved the 90s theme that reflected throughout and what I loved the most is how it entertained the whole family. Jac Yarrow’s close every door was also stunning.
8) Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre
This is perhaps one of the most anticipated broadway transfers of this year and it met expectations. I was engrossed in the emotion of the production and was so glad I managed to catch Marcus Harman don the stripy polo shirt.
7) Peter Pan at the Birmingham Rep
Regional Theatre continues to be squeezed thanks to local authorities having to tighten up their belts. What was special about this production by Birmingham Rep is that they took this super famous plot and re-interpreted it to fit the audience and area that it serves. It’s a reminder that regional theatres can make outward looking productions that remain true to the heart of their local people.
6) &Juliet at the Palace Theatre, Manchester
This is a musical for today. It features topics that are incredibly relevant for a younger audience. The twist on the pop classic hits give them a new lease of life and a hugely talented cast lifted this production into the stratosphere all set to a classic story.
Read my full review here: &Juliet Review
5) Romeo and Juliet by Curious Pheasant at the Edinburgh Fringe
Romeo and Juliet is one of those stories that have been interpreted in many different ways. This physical interpretation by Curious Pheasant really resonated with me. It has a beautifully strong message about homophobia in sport and while it didn’t detract from the original story, the production streamlined it to fit with its cast size and time constraints.
4) The Bodyguard UK Tour
The Bodyguard is a well produced musical. It fits tightly together to form this epic piece of theatre with a large cast and momentous songs from Whitney Huston that are wonderfully performed. For the cost of a ticket you get a top class, no expense spared production at your local regional theatre.
Read my full review here: The Bodyguard Review
3) Paradise Lodge at the Edinburgh Fringe
Paradise Lodge was my first production at this year’s fringe festival and it’s stuck with me since. At its heart is a beautiful story about caring for others and being cared for. That ethos doesn’t stop at the end of the performance either, as the production company also tours the performance to care homes close to where they are performing. It’s a touching play, made straight from the heart.
You can read my full review here: Paradise Lodge Review
2) Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis at the New Vic, Newcastle under Lyme
I’ve never walked away from a theatre and halfway down the street chocked up at the thought of something I’ve just watched but Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis did just that. It’s funny, it’s moving and the end is a real tear jerker where you’ll end up leaving with your spirits high but your heart firmly on your sleeve.
Read my full review here: Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis Review
1) Cabaret, UK Tour
Before I saw the current tour of Cabaret, I knew that it featured a song of the same name and not much else.
What I didn’t know is just how ti and cutting edge the plot was. It had some stark reminders for the world we’re in today, as well as some cutting edge bleak reminders about the past. I gasped in shock in the closing moments and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. However, that’s what made this production the best of the year for me. Theatre isn’t always something to entertain, it needs to be bold, ambitious and sometimes put you in an uncomfortable place. It’s not something you always get from a commercial producer that’s touring the regions but that is what this production does. It sets the bar for others to follow.
You can read my full review from its time at the Wolverhampton Grand here: Cabaret Review