Ahead of rounding up various publications #theatre2016 highlights, I’m taking a moment to reflect on my own theatregoing year and my favourite plays, musicals, performances and other events.
After re-visiting The Book of Mormon, it makes it into this week’s Top Ten; so does People, Places and Things, newly transferred from the National to the West End. Plus, this week’s openings and other recommendations.
I recently wrote about super-hot French playwright Florian Zeller’s London hat trick – with The Father, The Mother and, still running at the Menier Chocolate Factory, The Truth. As I sat down to catch up on my Theatre Diary of other plays I’ve seen recently, however, I realised London’s theatre landscape is going Gallic for far more than Zeller. In the West End alone at the moment, you can catch three heavyweight French offerings, even if you don’t realise it. All three have been given modern English-language makeovers and relocations.
This week the London theatre bloggers – including syndicate Mates Johnny Fox and Laura Kressly – discuss Jamie Lloyd’s West End revival of The Maids, Welcome Home, Captain Fox at the Donmar Warehouse and new play Correspondence at the fringe Old Red Lion Theatre.
After three one-star shows in a row last week, there’s a guaranteed hit opening this week when People, Places and Things transfers from the National.
Mark Shenton’s top ten ticket recommendations of the week, plus new openings at the St James and Young Vic plus the latest in Kenneth Branagh’s West End season
I’ve not updated my diary of a theatre addict for six weeks now — I was last here on January 31 — since when I’ve seen all of 49 shows, including outings to Newbury, Dartford, Clwyd, Manchester, Bromley and Cardiff, plus a week in New York. I’ve also taken an active part in two more shows by appearing onstage as a contestant in a theatrical re-run of Mr and Mrs with husband (so it was really Mr and Mr, we’re pictured above with host Samuel Holmes) and as part of David Bedella and Friends, his monthly chat show at the St James Studio.
The Jean Anouilh plays I devoured as a neurotic sixth-former always had Antigone, Joan of Arc or Thomas a Becket heroically refusing compromise and salvation in the name of moral integrity. Ideal for a furious convent girl. I did not know his first big hit – the 1937 Le Voyageur Sans Bagages, which takes on a classic impostor-adoption theme (these were big in both sets of postwar years: think of Tey’s Brat Farrar, du Maurier’s The Scapegoat).