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Review of 2017

January 17, 2018

First Entry of the new year, and it’s a simple run-down of the best and worst I saw in 2017. Subjective as ever, and leaving out a few “re-visits,” the list runs as follows:


Out Of This World (SO – Standing Ovation)
Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Royal, Haymarket)
See Me Now (Young Vic) (SO)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Harold Pinter Theatre) (SO)
An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)
Hamlet (Almeida) (SO)
Out There On Fried Meat Ridge Rd. (Trafalgar Studio 2)
The Ferryman (Royal Court) (SO)
On The Town (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) (SO)
The Kite Runner (Playhouse Theatre)
Penn & Teller UK Tour 2017 (Apollo Hammersmith)
Angels In America Part 1: Millennium Approaches (Lyttelton Theatre) (SO)
Angels In America Part 2: Perestroika (Lyttelton Theatre) (SO)
13 (Ambassadors Theatre) (SO)
Yerma (Young Vic Theatre) (SO)
Oslo (Lyttelton Theatre) (SO)
The Knowledge (Charing Cross Theatre)
Follies (Olivier Theatre) (SO)
Beginning (Dorfman Theatre) (SO)
The Woman In White (Charing Cross Theatre)
Jack and the Beanstalk (New Wimbledon Theatre)
Let’s Rock Christmas – The 1980s Retro Show (Wembley Arena)
Dick Whittington (London Palladium) (SO)


The Wonder Years
Love’s Labour’s Lost (Theatre Royal, Haymarket)
The Girls (Phoenix Theatre)
Saint Joan (Donmar Warehouse)
Hedda Gabler (Lyttelton Theatre)
Evita (New Wimbledon Theatre)
The Glass Menagerie (Duke of York’s Theatre)
The Life (Southwark Playhouse)
Carousel (London Coliseum)
The Braille Legacy (Charing Cross Theatre)
Lettice and Lovage (Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre)
Ballroom (Waterloo East Theatre)
Ugly Lies The Bone (Lyttelton Theatre)
Bat Out Of Hell (London Coliseum)
Working (Southwark Playhouse)
Committee (Donmar Warehouse)
The Tempest (Barbican Theatre)
I Loved Lucy (Arts Theatre)
Ink (Almeida Theatre)
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Menier Chocolate Factory)
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (Wyndhams Theatre)
Queen Anne (Theatre Royal, Haymarket)
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue)
Starlight Express Concert Workshop Performance (The Other Palace)
Metropolis The Musical (Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre)
The Lady From The Sea (Donmar Warehouse)
Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle (Wyndham’s Theatre)
Albion (Almeida Theatre)
Cilla The Musical (New Wimbledon Theatre)
Labour of Love (Noel Coward Theatre)
Elaine Paige In Concert (The Alban Arena)
Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre)


California Dreams
Art (Old Vic Theatre)
Death Takes A Holiday (Charing Cross Theatre)
Wish List (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Old Vic Theatre)
The Frogs (Jermyn Street Theatre)
Limehouse (Donmar Warehouse)
Obsession (Barbican Theatre)
Consent (Dorfman Theatre)
The Treatment (Almeida Theatre)
Annie (Piccadilly Theatre)
Killology (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs)
Blondel (Union Theatre)
Road (Royal Court Theatre Downstairs)
Mosquitoes (Dorfman Theatre)
Apologia (Trafalgar Studio 1)
Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
Young Marx (Bridge Theatre)
Inside Pussy Riot (Saatchi Gallery)
Big Fish (The Other Palace Theatre)


Saved By The Bell
Promises Promises (Southwark Playhouse)
The Wild Party (The Other Palace Theatre)
The Miser (Garrick Theatre)
Woyzeck (Old Vic Theatre)
Don Juan In Soho (Wyndhams Theatre)
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Donmar Warehouse)
The Philanthropist (Trafalgar Studio 1)
A Tale of Two Cities (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park)
Venus In Fur (Theatre Royal, Haymarket)


Bug Juice
The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium)
Girl From The North Country (Old Vic Theatre)
Against (Almeida Theatre)



A vintage year, I’d declare. Very few out and out disasters, very little mediocre in general, and some wonderful surprises. In musicals, “Bat Out Of Hell” being the loudest and most obvious, but the beauty of “An American In Paris,” the sparkling revival of “42nd Street,” the energy of the young cast in “13,” and the resourcefulness of “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole” all registered.

In plays, it’s a five-way tie in new writing between “The Ferryman,” “Oslo” “See Me Now,” “Out There On Fried Meat Ridge Rd.” and “Beginning.” As for revivals, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” “Hamlet” and “Yerma” are all up there – with “The Knowledge” as best adaptation.

Just in general, I also got to see three musicals I never thought I would. “Blondel,” “Metropolis” and “Ballroom,” thanks to the wonder that is the London fringe. And finally, “Penn and Teller” at the Apollo Hammersmith. My 30 year wait over, and in what style.

And on that magic note, onward 2018, and next week the “GoodMonkey Awards” rewarding the sort of things that the Oliviers prefer not to mention…

  1. Francesca Clementis permalink
    January 17, 2018 12:25 pm

    Very interesting! I think my only amendment would be to promote Working (Southwark Playhouse) in acknowledgement of its brilliant combination of old pros and fresh-out-of-drama-school newbies. I read online that this experience was incredible for the new graduates. Will look forward to your Good Monkey Awards!

    • Steve Rich permalink
      January 17, 2018 1:37 pm

      Thanks :). Drawing a line is so hard – probably why I chicken out of actual stars in favour of other headings.

      On “Working” it was just that for me, nobody in particular stood out among the newcomers, that was all. They all did well, but there was no “gosh, s/he is amazing” moment there for me. I do love the CD of the original show more and more as I listen to it, though.

      The GoodMonkey Awards this year are, well, the GoodMonkey Awards as usual, really, LOL.

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