Everyone is doing this. Why am I? Because I want to feel validated and I want to join in. Have I seen half the shows that are on other people’s lists? No. Does that matter? No. Because ART IS SUBJECTIVE I LOVE THEATRE LET’S GO
10. Hamlet – Almeida Theatre, dir. Robert Icke
Well, I didn’t fall asleep in this one, unlike Cumberbatch/Barbican Hamlet in 2015. I loved the aesthetics and the soundtrack of this production, which fitted the Almeida perfectly. There were also little pockets of comedy which were found within the text, and the use of technology was pretty cool, too. Oh, and Andrew Scott was wonderful.
9. Alice’s Adventures Underground – Vaults, Les Enfants Terribles
Hadn’t really seen proper immersive theatre before this (sorry Punchdrunk fans!) and I was just thrilled and in total wonder (ha, pun) walking around this. So beautifully designed and such a great twist on the classic tale. Yes yes yes. When/if it comes back next year, do go see/experience it! Just a whole lot of fun!
8. A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) – Greenwich Theatre, Silent Uproar
Managed to catch this show in Greenwich after missing it at the Fringe and I’m glad I did. A low-key show with a lot of heart, full of wit and energy and some catchy little numbers. A really lovely little show about depression/mental health with a hopeful ending. The show really touched me personally and was exactly what I needed in the moment I saw it.
7. The Comedy About a Bank Robbery – Criterion Theatre, Mischief Theatre
I know this show has been running since before 2017 but this year was the first time I’d seen it – or anything (live) by the acclaimed Mischief Theatre. I love me a comedy, especially a slapstick with a lot of wordplay in, and this ticked all the boxes. Great fun, brilliant performances, and all round entertainment. 10/10 would go and see again if I need cheering up.
6. Albion – Almeida Theatre, dir. Rupert Goold
Saw this as part of Young Critics and really really loved it. The writing was clever, the performances were ACE (Victoria Hamilton slays every day, doesn’t she?) but what I loved the most was the direction/set. I am so obsessed with that garden and the transitions where the actors were just planting for a solid four minutes and yet it somehow wasn’t boring? Just a nice little play really. Made me think a lot.
5. Follies – National Theatre, dir. Dominic Cooke
Ugh, sublime. Surprisingly, this is the only mainstream musical on my list. I love Sondheim anyway, I think he’s a lyrical genius, and this production really honoured that. I felt the set and lighting design was superb, along with the costumes. The whole design, especially with the Olivier’s revolving stage, really showed off the dialogue between ghosts of the past and figures of the present. The choreography was wonderful, and I welled up when all the women began tap dancing together with their younger selves. Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee were, of course, outstanding, and I feel incredibly lucky to have seen the production.
4. Wild Bore – Soho Theatre, Ursula Martinez, Adrienne Truscott, Zoe Coombs Marr
I only saw this last week so it’s snuck onto my list pretty quickly. I got recommended this show by a friend, and I’m very glad I went. These women are hilarious, and the concept of the show (criticising your critics) was just genius. I laughed a lot, and I saw a bit of how I want to be as a performer in the trio, too. Just really inspired by it, and it was a lot of fun. Fab.
3. Harry – Underbelly, Poor Michelle
Again, recommended to me by a friend, I caught this show at Fringe and balled my eyes out at it. Was it because I was ill/hungover? Was it because I identified with the themes? Probably both. I just know that this show got me somewhere, and even though it was ‘about Harry Styles’ it obviously wasn’t, it was about female friendship and university/graduation and growing up. Things I’m experiencing now. So, that might read a little selfish, but this show ranks quite highly for me because I became quite emotionally attached to it.
2. Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons – Summerhall, Walrus Theatre
Felt like I was playing catch-up by watching this but by God, I’m glad I did. I kept talking about this all throughout Fringe after I’d seen it, I was just in awe. So CLEVER and COOL and the staging was ACE and ugh, just wonderful writing. Hope it gets put on again soon because LOVE.
1. Anatomy of a Suicide – Royal Court, dir. Katie Mitchell
Everyone else has written everything I could possibly say about this show. Birch’s writing is sublime. The direction is incredible: the ‘scene changes’ becoming the action and all the small details are just my fave things ever, and it was about the female experience (yes!!) and had three kick-ass female leads. Ugh, YES.