2016 is coming to an end and to celebrate another year, here are some of Love London Love Culture’s favourite shows of the year. (Three of them still running – click on links below to book them via the MyTheatreMates ticket shop.)
1. Grey Gardens, Southwark Playhouse: this heartbreaking production starring Sheila Hancock and Jenna Russell created a genuine buzz with audiences and critics when it appeared at the Southwark Playhouse in January. A show that will hopefully will be revived sooner rather than later again.
2. Show Boat, New London Theatre: genuinely sad that the revival of this classic musical didn’t manage to stay longer in the West End as the level of talent involved was incredibly high. Even to hear the score performed live was an absolute delight – despite some of the sound issues that caused the music to sound slightly out of focus.
3. Nell Gwynn, Apollo Theatre: it was a delight to watch Gemma Arterton in the title role of this sparkling play by Jessica Swale – plenty of attitude and sharp wit as well as bawdy humour kept the audience entertained in this production.
4. Vanities: The Musical, Trafalgar Studios: making its long awaited European premiere earlier this year, this was a really beautiful and entertaining production that fitted in well in the smaller studio space. Light, fluffy and some memorable songs this was such a joy to watch.
5. Frankenstein, Royal Opera House: the world premiere of this new ballet was wonderful to watch thanks to the gothic setting and the emotional impact the ballet and the dancers performing had on the audience.
6. Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre: this Broadway transfer of the hit musical finally arrived in London earlier this year to strong and positive reviews. It is light hearted entertainment suitable for all of the family.
7. American Idiot, Arts Theatre: this hit production returned to the West End following a successful UK tour and proved as popular as ever with audiences. It was a rocking good time!
8. Allegro, Southwark Playhouse: this rarely performed Rodgers and Hammerstein musical was a privilege to watch and enjoyed by all the audience when I went.
9. The Libertine, Theatre Royal Haymarket: thrilling, bawdy and filled with fantastic performances, not least Dominic Cooper’s performance as John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester.
10. School of Rock, New London Theatre: finally making its West End debut, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical has an epic score that really rocks the New London Theatre from beginning to end.
11. Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre: what can I say that hasn’t been already said about this long awaited premiere? it has a dynamic cast, fantastic and soulful soundtrack and a powerful story and a thrilling night at the theatre.