Here we are again at the end of another year; so without further ado, here’s a bit of a list – the best theatre and performance from Liverpool (and surrounds) of 2017. Here goes:
1 Ramin Karimloo, Edge Hill Arts Centre (January)
Starting the year off right (to coin a topical meme), as soon as Broadway superstar Karimloo started to sing on that cold winter night in Ormskirk I knew straight away whatever happened, this show would be the one to beat – and so it proved. On tour with his Broadgrass Band, giving a folkish twist to the show tunes that made his career and more besides, it was a masterclass in performance and song never to be forgotten.
2 Fiddler on the Roof, Liverpool Everyman (February)
The Everyman’s reintroduction (and modernisation) of the rep company concept that made its name back in the days of Postlethwaite, Walters at al was a gamble; one that paid off immediately with its first production. A bold season opener, great ensemble work and one of the catchiest, most vibrant shows of the year.
3 Improvathon 2017, Invisible Wind Factory (May)
The Improvathon well and truly got its groove back this year, with a Space Age theme that inspired this most gloriously geeky of companies to run with what they love best – a 33-hour non-stop event featuring a cast of Jedis, evil robots, space pirates, and an alien slug who just wants to be loved. And that’s just for starters. Never change, Impropriety.
4 Cartoonopolis, Liverpool Unity Theatre (June)
Lewis Bray’s 2015 one-man show about his family and their lives supporting his autistic brother successfully crowdfunded a tour this year, and after all this time I was so glad to finally see it.
5 The Vaudevillians, Liverpool Unity Theatre (November)
RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon and partner-in-theatrical-crime Major Scales brought their twisted cabaret act to the city for the first time as part of this year’s Homotopia festival; a wildly funny show honed for maximum laughs.
Honourable mention: War Horse, Liverpool Empire (November)
Because… well, War Horse. I’m not including this in the official top five as it’s not a new or regional work, but it did come to Liverpool for the first time this year with a touring version faithful to the West End production, and besides, if you’re not in bits at that ending, are you even human?
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