As playwright John Osborne may have said (though very unlikely as he was pretty grumpy and often courted anger) we find ourselves Looking Back With Delight at 2018 and out of over 300 shows reviewed by ourselves both Kathryn McAuley and myself Phil Lowe, we have scoured the online archive and each come up with a top five. For those who have the mathematical genius brain of Christopher in ‘Curious Incident’ you will realise that that makes the total of ten between us. Believe me that took some working out. Phil Lowe.
As all the best theatrical MC’s say “With Much Ado About Everything we present our winning ten 2018.” Cue huge applause on our curtain up.
Charge by Motionhouse, Nottingham Playhouse. April – an astonishing multi-media dance show that fuses science, digital projection, sound and light to create a thrilling and explosive spectacle.
Swan Lake by Matthew Bourne, Curve Theatre Leicester. October – Fresh, vital, funny, athletic and a celebration of the beauty and strength of the human body.
Sweet Charity at Nottingham Playhouse September – a vibrant explosion of colour, energy and style, with dance routines to take your breath away, bags of humour, and dazzling music.
White Christmas at Curve Theatre Leicester December – a sparkling success, full of warmth and energy, it flies along with pace and charm, and sweeps you off your feet.
4.5 star reviews (more difficult as there are lots of these and only one slot available, but I’ll go ‘local’ and one of my personal favourites)
Two at Derby Theatre March – a reflection of life through the prism of a pub. It examines the minutiae of the everyday and makes it heroic and banal and comedic all at once. An ‘ode to actors’ with Sean McKenzie and Jo Mousley creating poetry in motion.
Kathryn: “Wow! I am excited for what is coming in 2019. Need to get that Thesaurus out though!
Phil Lowe: As I reflect on the many brilliant shows we have seen both professional large scale and professional small scale and top class work by amateurs it becomes quite humbling just to chose a mere five from the myriad of excellence. But here goes:
Nativity The Musical. Nottingham Theatre Royal. November. A constantly slick and involving musical that has plenty of heart and sparkle and shine and utilises a lovely cast of local kids.
Les Misérables (touring) Curve Theatre November. This production has real visual richness and aural quality. … blissfully dynamic and heart-breaking.
The Madness of George III. Nottingham Playhouse. November. 18th Century politics with its ambitiously scheming politicians has clear parallels with our world today. Brilliant direction by Adam Penford and stunning acting by Mark Gatiss with a stellar cast.
Titanic the Musical (touring) Theatre Royal Nottingham. July. Totally exquisite performances throughout offer great musical clout especially the cast ensemble singing in unison. The whole show is a real testament to real life people and families whose lives were affected or lost during this terrible maritime tragedy.
War Horse (touring) Nottingham Royal Concert Hall March-April. Brilliantly committed story telling … emotional and dramatic leaving the audience with tears rolling down their collective faces. Puppetry is outstanding.
Do let us know on our Facebook page what your choices might have been or if you enjoyed or endured any of our selections. Did you love Cilla The Musical perhaps or maybe something more poetical and political like A Thing Mislaid from Maison Foo. We would love to hear what you think. Did An Officer and a Gentleman lift you up out of your seats or were you swept away by Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat? Which of the choice of East Midlands theatres do you love to visit and why? Tell us and share your stories.
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