The festive season makes me think about the year that has flown by in the theatre world. My team and I have seen almost 300 shows this year, which has been an absolute privilege.
In a year that has seen the return of one of the greatest musicals ever written, Miss Saigon, there has also been no shortage of other great shows gracing the stage. Marti Webb reprised her one woman show Tell Me On A Sunday at the beautiful St James Theatre which then transferred to the Duchess for a short run. Broadway musical Urinetown was also a huge success at the St James Theatre, gaining rave reviews and transferring to the Apollo Theatre where it is playing until 3 January 2015.
Shakespeare In Love had me transfixed when I saw it earlier this year and is one of the best plays on in the West End right now. Memphis starring Beverley Knight and Killian Donnelly is probably the best musical that has opened this year. Total perfection and I struggle to think anyone could not have his or her mind blown by it.
It’s not just been big West End shows that have impressed me this year though. Return of the Soldier at Jermyn Street Theatre was a beautiful musical that has stayed in my mind since I saw it and Next Fall at the Southwark Playhouse dealt with some interesting themes around death and coping, in a great way.
With the release of the new Disney film of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods due in the next couple of weeks, it was fitting that Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthomstow staged the production recently. Director Tim McArthur took some brace directing choices that paid off, giving a fresh new look to the show.
Shows have come and gone. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward, Tim Rice’s From Here To Eternity and the X Factor musical I Can’t Sing all tried to make their mark on the West End but failed to have any sustainability in this difficult climate where the public don’t seem prepared to risk throwing their money away on a show that is new and not trusted.
There have been a few disaster shows that some how managed to slip under the net and get homes in the West End. Fatal Attraction starring Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis failed to have any real attraction to it and the recent Evita revival at the Dominion Theatre was possibly one of the worst things I have ever seen. This sadly proved that no matter how great a show may have been in the past, without good actors and good direction, it can still fail.
So that’s my view on what has been happening in theatre land this year. Why not take my little survey and let me know your thoughts on what has been happening and what’s coming up in 2015.
Love and kisses,