2016 was an unsuspecting cracker of a year for theatre. A play tops my list, which no one suspected, and I didn't go and see the same show 2580 times, which is probably a good thing for everyone involved. Here are my highlights from the last 12 months:
Denise Gough in People, places and Things. I'm still mesmerised by this, every so often I think about it and just take myself back through that play. I've never seen anything where I, a non actress, have been so confident in the quality of someone's acting. I really, really hope that this gets another life, as the show is brilliantly written and addresses hundreds of but I'm not sure whether I'd have enjoyed it anywhere near as much if an actress of Denise Gough's calibre wasn't playing the lead. Read Thoughts I had during People, Places and Things.
Funny Girl, and particularly Natasha Barnes. There was all that hoo har about Sheridan Smith and honestly that isn't what I'll remember about this production at all - the show in its own right was just wonderful. Natasha Barnes stepped up to the almost impossible job of performing to a house full of people who might all have wanted their money back, in the absence of Ms Smith, and she didn't disappoint. You can read my full review here.
Rachel Tucker's Elphaba . I wrote about being a little bit bored of Wicked when I saw the show for the 10th time back in October, but I couldn't help myself when For those of you unfamiliar with the Wicked scene, Rachel Tucker is a seasoned professional in the role of Elphaba by this point - having played it opposite several people back in 2011. The show itself doesn't make my list, but her performance couldn't have been missed - I've seen 7 other people play that role and she was up there with my favourite performance to date. More than that though, it was different. I wouldn't have known that she had played the green girl hundreds of times by her performance alone, and for that, I take my hat off to her.
Side Show, Southwark Playhouse. The aforementioned Rachel Tucker happened to actually be there... classic Tuesday Matinee problems, the stagiest events of the west end week, I'm telling you. I love the Southwark Playhouse because not only is there not a bad seat in the theatre, you also know that they're renowned for putting on some flipping wonderful pieces of work. Louise Dearman and Laura Pitt Pulford are forces to be reckoned with when they're playing leading ladies alone, but when they're conjoined twins? I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. Again, I really hope that this show gets another life somewhere, but it's difficult to know how or where when it's been performed in such a special, and small space.
The Curious incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Wow, look at all the plays on this list. 2 out of 6, someone's changed. I'm still kicking myself for not reading the book before I went to see the play, but it absolutely lived up to the hype of both. While amusing, it increased my understanding of Autism exponentially and I think it would continue to if I saw it again - but maybe it's time to read the book, first.
Jesus Christ Super Star at Regents Park Open Air Theatre. The best choreography I've ever seen. That's basically it, the vocals were pretty solid too but mostly just the way every single person in this show MOVED absolutely made it for me. I'm looking forward to seeing it again this summer as it returns to Regents Park with at least a partly new case. Read my original review here.
If you're wondering how I got away with all of this theatre and can somehow still afford to eat, you can read my post on how to go to the theatre without breaking the bank, here.
What were your favourite shows of 2016? What is on your to see list for 2017? Let me know!