Oh, What a Lovely Year

theatre2012This year has been a phenomenal one for many reasons. As a nation, the Diamond Jubilee was filled with its own Royal Revelry, and the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony blew the minds and hearts of Brits everywhere; personally, I’ve achieved more this year than I ever expected, have had some incredible experiences, and am in the best place in my life yet. And it’s not been a bad year for theatre either!

Having seen a healthy 31 different productions this year, I have once again been amazed at the variety, talent, and innovation of our country’s theatre makers. From projection, to translation, to inspiration, I’ve uncovered hidden treasures and re-created old classics in what has been a wonderful series of shows. I’ve just about managed to whittle down the list to five of my top productions of 2012, though it was a hard feat indeed.

Les Misérables: It’s a classic. It’s a cliché. It’s a remarkable piece of theatre that must and will be celebrated. This year marking its 27th anniversary, Les Mis remains one of the best theatre shows in history, a must-see for everyone, and well worth the time and money. Based at the Queen’s Theatre, it is part opera, part panto, part spectacle that I would see time and time again if given half the chance.

4:48 Psychosis & Lord of the Flies: I’m cheating a little with this one – it is the two productions I saw put on by this year’s cohort at the Fourth Monkey Theatre Company. Encouraged to go along as I had friends in the cast, I was astonished at the creativity and talent put on by this company, tackling too rather difficult plays. Theatro Technis which housed these two pieces is a brilliant venue that really enhanced the shows, but it was without a doubt the cast and director who brought these plays to life and produced two phenomenal pieces of work. Keep an eye out for Fourth Monkey this coming year.

Henry V: Yet again, I find myself placing a Theatre Delicatessen production in my list of top shows of the year. They are my favourite theatre company for a reason, producing incredibly immersive experiences that take hold of all your senses, smash your preconceptions, and reawaken your imaginations. Placing Shakespeare’s dramatic text in the bunker of a non-specific army, Henry V was yet another great success in the new venue of the Marylebone Gardens. I will always return to see this company’s work, and I will never leave disappointed.

A Doll’s House: One of my all time favourite plays, the adaptation at the Young Vic this year starring Hattie Morahan was truly breathtaking, earning Morahan the Evening Standard’s Best Actress award. Such understanding of Ibsen’s text made it both a wonderful thing to watch, but also incredibly heartfelt and emotional. Returning to the stage in April 2013, I would strongly advise you get yourself to see it. Simply brilliant.

Three Sisters: Another classic, another show at the Young Vic, proof that in 2012 they got it oh so right. It was a surprising show, not what I was expecting, but I’m incredibly glad they did it this way. A new translation by Australian director Benedict Andrews, this performance was bold, in your face, and not for those after traditional Chekhov. It suited me perfectly.

My theatrical appetite has been well and truly satisfied, but with five shows already lined up for 2013, I’ve no doubts it’s going to be another excellent line-up featuring even more diversity and courage. Until next year…

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