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Round-up of 2016

January 18, 2017

First Entry of the new year, and it’s a simple run-down of the best and worst I saw in 2016. Subjective as ever, and leaving out a few “re-visits,” the list runs as follows – in no particular order under each heading:

Out Of This World (SO – yep, a standing ovation from me. Many more than usual this year, and all deserved).
The Master Builder (Old Vic) (SO)
Funny Girl (Menier Chocolate Factory (SO)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Lyttelton Theatre)
People, Places & Things (Wyndham’s Theatre) (SO)
Show Boat (New London Theatre) (SO)
Romeo and Juliet (Garrick Theatre)
The Flick (Dorfman Theatre) (SO)
Titanic (Charing Cross Theatre)
Aladdin (Prince Edward Theatre) (SO)
Jesus Christ, Superstar (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) (SO)
Groundhog Day (Old Vic Theatre) (SO)
The Dresser (Duke of York’s Theatre) (SO)
Ragtime (Charing Cross Theatre) (SO)
Amadeus (Olivier Theatre) (SO)
Dick Whittington (New Wimbledon Theatre)
Oh Come All Ye Divas (Charing Cross Theatre)

The Wonder Years
Linda (Royal Court Downstairs)
Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Donmar Warehouse)
Bar Mitzvah Boy (Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre)
The Painkiller (Garrick Theatre)
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery (Criterion Theatre)
The Caretaker (Old Vic Theatre)
Sunset Boulevard (London Coliseum)
Nell Gwynn (Apollo, Shaftesbury Avenue)
Cleansed (Dorfman Theatre)
Blue / Orange (Young Vic Theatre)
The Threepenny Opera (Olivier Theatre)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 2 (Palace Theatre)
How The Other Half Loves (Duke of York’s Theatre)
The Bodyguard (Dominion Theatre)
Richard III (Almeida Theatre)
The Deep Blue Sea (Lyttelton Theatre)
Allegro (Southwark Playhouse)
No Man’s Land (Wyndhams Theatre)
The Libertine (Theatre Royal, Haymarket)
School of Rock (New London Theatre)
King Lear (Old Vic Theatre)
The Spanish Riding School of Vienna (Wembley Arena)
Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
The Last 5 Years (St James Theatre)
Cymbeline (Barbican Theatre)
This House (Garrick Theatre) Cinderella (London Palladium)
She Loves Me (Menier Chocolate Factory)

California Dreams
As You Like It (Olivier Theatre)
Hangmen (Wyndhams Theatre)
Road Show (Union Theatre)
In The Bar of a Tokyo Hotel (Charing Cross Theatre)
Running Wild (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park)
Elegy (Donmar Warehouse)
Henry V (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 1 (Palace Theatre)
Guys and Dolls (Phoenix Theatre)
The Entertainer (Garrick Theatre)
Ghost: The Musical (New Wimbledon Theatre)
Vanities: The Musical (Trafalgar Studio 2)
Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Dorfman Theatre)
Shopping and F***ing (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith)
Murder Ballad (Arts Theatre)
Side Show (Southwark Playhouse)
Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre)

Saved By The Bell
If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me (Young Vic Theatre)
The End of Longing (Playhouse Theatre)
Doctor Faustus (Duke of York’s Theatre)
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (Theatre Royal, Haymarket)
A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer (Dorfman Theatre)
Oil (Almeida Theatre)

Bug Juice
Macbeth (Young Vic Theatre)
The Suicide (Lyttelton Theatre)
Nice Fish (Harold Pinter Theatre)

Some really great stuff this year, and those many “standing ovations,” that were actually very much deserved. A few let-downs, and the three productions I liked least were genuinely excruciating to sit through, but it really has been a good year. If I had to pick a new play, “The Flick” is simply the best three hours I’ve had in a theatre this year, while “Groundhog Day” produced “Playing Nancy” – the finest new show tune in a decade, perhaps.

Coming in a few weeks too, the annual “Goodmonkey Awards” – rewarding the things other awards ceremonies can’t bear to even think about…


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