A new piece from Matthew Bourne is always a talking point and a treat to get dance fans excited. I’ve been a fan for around a decade now.
This past weekend saw the return of the much-loved West End Live in Trafalgar Square. A free festival for theatre lovers, the event has increased in popularity each year (I still remember the early years when everyone was crammed into Leicester Square and only a handful of shows took part!), and eventually it will outgrow its current home too (where next? Hyde Park?).
Twenty-five years after its first performance at the Rep, Ayub Khan Din’s comedy about a British-Pakistani family in 1970s Salford returns home to Birmingham. In Iqbal Khan’s production for the Rep and National Theatre, East is East feels like both a modern classic and as fresh as a new play.
Anthony Almeida has created not only a highly entertaining piece of theatre in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof at Curve Leicester, but a tableau of family life that can still resonate with modern audiences.
The songs featured in The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber have become standards for a reason and it is a pleasure to hear them performed by an excellent cast.
Following on from the immensely successful Sunset Boulevard in Concert, Curve has reunited the company of 2019’s The Color Purple (a co-production with Birmingham Hippodrome) to once again bring a much needed dose of musical enrichment to theatre lovers worldwide.
Now in its 68th year in the West End, The Mousetrap is also touring and shows no signs of slowing down. And whilst the play is more than a bit of a warhorse, it has become a staple of British theatre.
This production of The Phantom of the Opera is spectacular in the truest sense and even the most curmudgeonly of spectators will find something to enthuse over.
Here’s our Top 10 list for 2019 with three musicals – Come From Away, Curve’s West Side Story and the touring production of Amelie dominating the top spots.
Nikolai Foster and co. have wrung West Side Story for every last drop of emotion, intellect and topicality. It has been given the full blooded revival it merits and I would love to see this production have further life beyond this initial run.
Winsome Pinnock’s 2005 play One Under has been revived in a co-production by Graeae and Theatre Royal, Plymouth, now touring the UK.
Bijan Sheibani’s production of A Taste Of Honey is entertaining without being flashy, showcasing Shelagh Delaney’s text in all its humour, honesty and melancholia.
In a co-production with Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham and Leeds Playhouse, Nikolai Foster and the Curve company’s adaptation of My Beautiful Laundrette has shone a spotlight on the wrongs of yesteryear at a time when, more than ever before in my lifetime, the country seems to be in a state of sinfully wilful regression.
The National Theatre production of Michael Morpurgo’s novel War Horse is both the most visceral depiction of war I’ve seen on stage and a masterpiece in theatrical storytelling.
Nikolai Foster’s 2016 production of Grease returns to Curve as part of a major tour, and, while it doesn’t quite have the pizzazz of three years ago, the show remains a solid, thoughtful and energetic version of a much loved classic.
The Entertainer is an interesting state-of-the-nation play, and although a period piece, it’s undeniably a prescient time to revive it.
Not Exactly Billington has set themselves a challenge to read a new (to them) playtext every week. In August, their #ReadaPlayaWeek titles included John Osborne’s Luther, Christopher Shinn’s Dying City, Abi Zakarian’s This is Not an Exit, E.V. Crowe’s I Can Hear You, and Alice Birch’s Revolt. She said. Revolt again.
Making use of the intimate studio space, director Siobhán Cannon-Brownlie recreates the indie movie theatre setting of the play, while a cast of locals dive head-first into the dazzling world of Bollywood.
What’s so great about Jack Thorne’s play The End of History (as well as his consistently interesting use of stage directions) is that it has made me pause to think but is all wrapped up in this absorbing family comedy.
Celie’s journey from despair to belief, love and hope is, in T’Shan Williams’ hands, a believable and rewarding experience in The Color Purple.