CRITIC’S CHOICE 2016: Sophie Adnitt

As You Like It at the National Theatre

We asked our reviewers to take a look at 2016 and to nominate some stand out productions for 2016. Sophie Adnitt replied with the following:-   An Inspector Calls (Playhouse Theatre) This much-hyped revival of the National Theatre’s production lived up to, and exceeded, expectations, with the combination of a stunning set and strong cast, Liam Brennan a stand out as an absorbingly human Inspector Goole. From the opening pouring rain to the climactic destruction of the family dining room, the piece was crammed with intelligent and alarmingly timely metaphor. Click here for more information on An Inspector Calls. As You like It with Paul Chahidi as Jacques. Photo: Johan Persson As You Like It (National Theatre)   Finding new ways to do Shakespeare is never easy, but the National excelled with this beautiful production. The transformation of the soulless, high-tech office of ‘the court’ into the dark and fantastic … Read more

CRITIC’S CHOICE 2016: Alexa Terry

Book now for Vanities The Musical

We asked our reviewers to take a look at 2016 and to nominate some stand out productions for 2016. Alexa Terry replied with the following:- The Pianist of Willesden Lane Often, I find myself leaving the theatre with tear-streaked cheeks and puffy eyes. But, I was not prepared for the sobs that engulfed me, as I watched Mona Golabek’s The Pianist of Willesden Lane’ – a true story of how Lisa Jura, Golabek’s mother, was sent to Great Britain on the Kinderstransport and became a concert pianist. Overwhelming, powerful and hauntingly current, this is undoubtedly, one of the best and most moving pieces of theatre I have experienced. Vanities ‘Vanities’ completely provoked my emotions as I laughed out loud, had my heartstrings plucked and tried to cough away the lumps in my throat (I will get a reputation for being a cry-baby if I’m not careful!). With a satisfying score … Read more

CRITIC’S CHOICE 2016 : Mark Ludmon

Billie Piper in Yerma

We asked our reviewers to take a look at 2016 and to nominate some stand out productions for 2016. Mark Ludmon replied with the following:- In another wonderful year for British theatre, one of my highlights was Annie Baker’s The Flick at the Dorfman at the National Theatre, unfolding the quiet desperations and joys of young people working at a small independent cinema in Massachusetts. Despite its running time of three-and-a-quarter hours and long silences, it was an absorbing, beautiful play with perfectly pitched performances. A powerful performance by Billie Piper made Yerma at the Young Vic stand out for me. Simon Stone’s modern adaptation played pretty freely with Lorca’s original, creating a stunning, heart-breaking drama about the despair of childlessness, played out within a glass box to add to a feeling we were glimpsing private horrors. My favourite show of the year has come at the end: Schiller’s Mary … Read more

CRITIC’S CHOICE 2016: Paul T Davies

Kenny Morgan returns to the Arcola Theatre

We asked our reviewers to take a look at 2016 and to nominate some stand out productions for 2016. Paul T Davies replied with the following:- 1. Kenny Morgan A well structured, naturalistic and beautifully performed play takes my choice as the best new play of 2016. Kenny Morgan was the real life lover of playwright Terence Rattigan, who, after his life spiralled into despair after leaving Rattigan, took his life by gassing himself in front of a gas fire. As a result, Rattigan wrote The Deep Blue Sea, which opens with his heroine, Hester Collier attempting to gas herself. Mike Poulton’s play, in many ways, is the play Rattigan couldn’t have written. Central to the production was Paul Keating’s powerful and moving performance as Kenny Morgan, for me, the male actor of the year. Yet the whole ensemble were terrific, the set perfect and the script shimmered with restrained, … Read more

CRITIC’S CHOICE 2016: Julian Eaves

Book tickets for Adding Machine Musical at Finborough Theatre

We asked our reviewers to take a look at 2016 and to nominate some stand out productions for 2016. Julian Eaves replied with the following:- The stand-out moments of 2016 for me are all new works, or at least new to the UK. ‘Can’t Stop It’, is a trans-Atlantic collaboration between two new British book writers, Adam Button and Lemon Otter; Lemon has also done the ingenious musical arrangements of the songs, which are by US indie group, Suburban Legends – most of the numbers come from their back catalogue, but some have been composed especially for the show. In the hands of dramaturg-director Max Reynolds, this show is taking very promising shape. Following two sets of workshops – at Canterbury and at the Performance Preparation Academy, Guildford – the team is currently exploring different options to develop the show further. Read Julian’s original article. ‘Adding Machine’, the US composer … Read more

REVIEW ROUND UP: Groundhog Day, Old Vic Theatre

Book now for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Theatre

With Groundhog Day, it looks like Tim Minchin might just repeat the huge success of his international hit musical Matilda. Groundhog Day opened last night at London’s Old Vic theatre bringing together some of the team the created Matilda. Groundhog Day stars Andy Karl as Phil, a weatherman caught in a never-ending time loop. Critics seem to have nothing but praise for Groundhog Day BOOK NOW FOR GROUNDHOG DAY Douglas Mayo, ✭✭✭✭✭ For a 10 week trial, this production of Groundhog Day is as good or better than many shows I have seen this year. A West-end transfer must surely be on the cards and I’m sure Andy Karl would be up for a Broadway run. Just get down to the Old Vic asap to see this stunning show. Writing and production of this calibre must be seen! Ben Brantley, New York Times I grinned pretty much all the … Read more

REVIEW ROUND UP: Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre

Book now for Disney's Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre

So what did UK theatre critics and theatre bloggers think of Aladdin at London’s Prince Edward Theatre. Douglas Mayo,  ✭✭✭✭ Whilst the pantomime comparison is inevitable, this production of Aladdin, is a big hit show that is perfectly at home in London’s West End. It’s a fast paced, energetic and supremely satisfying night at the theatre, and I daresay one that people will want to return to such is the joy that it brings. Michael Billington, The Guardian ✭✭✭✭ Imagine a Christmas panto minus the dame and with a budget of zillions and you get some idea of this musical extravaganza. At first, I resisted the corporate zeal that has taken the 1992 Disney animated feature and turned it into a live show, but I gradually found myself won over by the blend of spectacle, illusion and a greater supply of corn than you will find in the Kansas … Read more