This feels like a moment; I haven’t been able to do a best of theatre list since 2019 because of ‘you know what’. It’s been huge fun revisiting the plays I’ve seen – nearly 50. And while that total is down on pre-pandemic levels, it was still tricky to narrow down my choices, but here goes.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic Theatre
What have critics said about the Old Vic Theatre production of A Christmas Carol directed by Matthew Warchus and starring Owen Teale as Scrooge. Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon finds out.
‘A brilliant ensemble piece’: EUREKA DAY – Old Vic Theatre ★★★★★
There is a scene in Eureka Day at the Old Vic during which the audience is roaring with laughter, but it isn’t anything to do with the actors who are on stage or what they are saying. And it isn’t a mistake, it is intended, and it’s a genius scene for a couple of reasons, how the actors carry on regardless and the relatable source of the comedy.
‘Couldn’t be more topical’: EUREKA DAY – Old Vic Theatre ★★★★★
So we know where we are with Eureka Day at the Old Vic: joyfully satirising middle-class liberal-cum-hippie angst, parental protectiveness and the age of offence-taking, as in beloved recent comedies like God of Carnage and Clybourne Park. But as it heats, the focus shifts to the even more topical theme: digital misinformation, rumour and fake news getting indiscriminately sucked in and solidified into identity politics.
‘You can’t fault the acting’: JITNEY – Old Vic Theatre
The thing is, you can’t fault the acting in Jitney at the Old Vic – the actors are superb. And Tinuke Craig’s expert direction means the cab office setting doesn’t feel static or forced. But the play takes a long time to get to the interesting stuff and then leaves a lot hanging.
‘There are real moments of magic’: JITNEY – Old Vic Theatre
Jitney, revived at the Old Vic in a production by Tinuke Craig, is a piece that took the best part of 40 years to make it to Broadway in late 2016 after decades of smaller productions around America and at the National Theatre in 2001. Part
‘Caryl Churchill’s play has only gained in depth & gravitas’: A NUMBER – Old Vic Theatre
Paapa Essiedu and Lennie James deliver stunning performances in a cracking production of Caryl Churchill’s A Number at the Old Vic Theatre.
‘Patsy Ferran & Luke Thallon perform with superb control’: CAMP SIEGFRIED – Old Vic Theatre
Bess Wohl’s history play is an imaginatively-written, brilliantly chilling and resonant account of life at a Nazi summer camp, starring Patsy Ferran and Luke Thallon.
NEWS: Moulin Rouge is the big winner at the Tony Awards & there is British success for A Christmas Carol & The Inheritance
Moulin Rouge! The Musical triumphed in 10 categories at the 74th Tony Awards, including being named Best Musical, but there was also British success, with Rob Howell and Hugh Vanstone winning awards for their design work on the Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol (5) and Stephen Daldry named Best Director for his staging of Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance (4), originally at London’s Young Vic Theatre before its West End transfer.
‘Bringing Ferran & Thallon together for the first time is a masterstroke’: CAMP SIEGFRIED – Old Vic Theatre
Brought to life by two theatre actors on their way to a big career and finally united at the Old Vic, Ferran and Thallon are great now and are only going to get better – make sure you’re there to see it.
‘A meaningful experience’: THE DUMB WAITER – Old Vic
We may not have been able to see our fellow digital audience members but we knew they were there, making The Dumb Waiter feel like a communal event.
‘A cornucopia of solo pieces’: Aisha (The Black Album) / Putting A Face On / Burn – Old Vic (Online review)
Three monologues from the Old Vic for International Women’s Day cover a range of issues.
NEWS: A Monster Calls, Girl from the North Country & Cyrano De Bergerac casting directors win at CDG Casting Awards 2021
There was a double win for casting director Jessica Ronane and casting associate Abby Galvin at the Casting Directors’ Guild’s CDG Casting Awards 2021.
‘It has been a bit like the Wild West’: Recognising those pioneers extending the digital frontier
While Matthew Warchus at the other end of the Cut from the Young Vic, may have the Old Vic that he presides over (without any subsidy) dark, too, actually the theatre has been in use regularly and has continued to produce throughout the pandemic, with its “In Camera” broadcasts of live performances that have been staged in its empty auditorium.
20 of the things that inspired, moved, amused & delighted John Chapman in 2020
I’ve selected 20 of the things that inspired, moved, amused and delighted, which have pushed the boundaries of what it possible and continued to fly the flag for theatre in the UK.
‘Will only go from strength to strength as the run continues’: A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Old Vic (Online review)
Andrew Lincoln brings a real gravitas to proceedings in A Christmas Carol, anchoring the production and delivering a performance of variety and skill that will leave you hoping he returns to the stage more often in the future.
NEWS: Andrew Lincoln will star as Scrooge in The Old Vic’s In Camera production of A Christmas Carol
Andrew Lincoln will star as Ebenezer Scrooge in this year’s Old Vic: In Camera version of Jack Thorne’s A Christmas Carol from 12-24 December 2020.
NEWS: Three prizes each for & Juliet, Dear Evan Hansen & Emilia as Olivier Awards 2020 winners are announced
The winners of the Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard were announced in a special ITV programme filmed at The London Palladium, and on Official London Theatre’s YouTube channel.
NEWS: The Inheritance receives 11 Tony Awards 2020 nominations
Stephen Daldry has been nominated in the Best Director category for his staging of Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, originally at London’s Young Vic Theatre before its West End transfer to the Noel Coward Theatre. The Olivier Award-winning play which transferred to Broadway in November 2019 received 11 nominations.
‘A haunting & spellbinding play’: FAITH HEALER – Old Vic (Online review)
The third of the Old Vic’s ‘In Camera’ live streamed performances is Brian Friel’s 1979 play Faith Healer, often described as his masterpiece.