Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Feature: Best Shows of 2012

2012 has seen a phenomenal boom in a range of fantastic theatre productions being produced not only in the West End but around the country. To welcome in the New Year we take a look back at our selection of the best shows of 2012.

2012 saw a selection of the Royal Courts best shows transferring to the West End, with Nick Payne's Constellations shining above them all. This triumph of a production takes the audience through the journey of one couple and the infinite possibilities that their actions can take. Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall get to the heart of Marianne and Roland's love and affection for each other, sometimes leading to laughter and sometimes leading to heartbreak. Nick Payne's script never falters in its intensity and magic to show that there isn't just one choice but a thousand possibilities. Nick Payne is defiantly one to watch!

The Fish Tales of Alaska at Yard Theatre
The Unhidden Collective's production of The Fish Tales of Alaska tells the story of the relationship between Man and Sea through a variety of different mediums. With the world rapidly changing and threatening our seas, The Fish Tales of Alaska tells thought provoking stories of our ever changing environment and the impact it has on the sea and its creatures. This début performance at the diverse Yard Theatre opened to rave reviews in 2012 and TUC are a company that will only keep on growing in the future.

Blood Brothers
For over 25 years Blood Brothers has been at home at the Phoenix Theatre and 2012 saw this much loved show play its final show in the West End. Blood Brothers tells the story of two brothers separated at birth and the journey of them growing up side by side and the consequences of the discovering of who they are. Willy Russell tells a story of love and friendship and how class can, in many ways, define it. In 25 years this show has never lost the spirit and heart to its story, so lets hope this isn't the last we've seen of this show.

Richard III
After critical acclaim in Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, 2012 saw Mark Rylance return to the Globe Theatre in the production of Richard III. This production takes Shakespeare back to its roots with an all male cast, that tells the story of this tragic King beautifully. For the first time the Globe Theatre has transferred its productions to the West End with Mark Rylance taking the helm in Richard III as well as Twelfth Night, giving audiences more chance to see this fabulous production with Mark Rylance giving an amazing tear jerking performance as Richard III.

A Chorus of Disapproval
Alan Ayckbourn's plays have seen a lot of stage time over the last year and Sir Trevor Nunn's production of A Chorus of Disapproval is not one to forget. The first time the show has been performed in the West End since the National Theatre production 25 years ago, it is superb to see it captivating audiences once again with its charm and wit. A Chorus of Disapproval tells the story of Dafydd as the over enthusiastic director of The Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society’s production of The Beggar’s Opera which is slowly unravelling with the action on stage matching that of the rivalry and romance stirring up back stage. A fantastic production that should have to wait 25 years to be seen again.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
Mark Haddon's award winning novel finally made it to the stage in 2012 to such critical acclaim it is set for a West End run after a sell out run at the National Theatre. Award winning director Marianne Elliott and Simon Stephen's adaptation together tell the story of 15 year old Christopher, the maths genius who tries to unravel the mystery surrounding the murder of his neighbours dog that leads us on a terrifying journey of discovery. A fantastic story that most definitely deserved to be produced on stage, here's hoping it will run and run.

This year saw the return of the hilarious and revamped Spamalot, originally opening for a limited run it has proved so popular that is now embarking on a full West End run. Spamalot is loosely based on the Monty Python classic, The Holy Grail, with all the classic gags and humour with a whole host of brilliantly funny musical numbers thrown in. It has an almost panto feel about it but is most definitely for adults and certainly a show that should take pride of place in the West End, with it's sheer brilliance and enough laughs to keep you giggling all the way into 2013!

The Conquering Hero at The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond
Richmond's Orange Tree Theatre is without a doubt one of the best fringe venues in London; set in the round this intimate space adds an element of charm and magic to any production. Entering its 40th year the Orange Tree put on a host of fabulous productions, including Allan Monkhouse's The Conquering Hero. Set during the First World War this play tells the story of one family and the impact the War has on each individual. Showing a different side to the Great War and those people that conscientiously objected to fighting and the heartfelt justifications and consequences their actions had. A thought provoking production that was absolutely a must see of 2012. 

My Fair Lady
Dominic West made his debut musical theatre performance in the Sheffield Theatres Production of the hit musical My Fair Lady at the end of 2012. This much loved show made its professional return and opened to 5 star reviews at the Sheffield Crucible with a 5 star cast to go with it. My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, that tells the story of young Eliza Doolittle taking on the impossible feat of transforming from a mere flower girl to a fine young lady of society with the help of the formidable and yet loveable Professor Higgins. With so much to offer lets hope that 2013 sees this show return to the West End to capture the hearts of audiences once again.

Playhouse Creatures at Chichester's Theatre on the Fly
To celebrate the Chichester Festival Theatre's 50th birthday, a series of productions were produced with Theatre on the Fly based in a temporary theatre erected in the grounds of the much-loved theatre. Playhouse Creatures by April De Angelis is set during the 17th century depicting the story of a host of feisty female characters trying to be taken seriously in the theatre. April De Angelis's writing is witty as well as thought provoking showing the hardship these girls had to face to be taken seriously and the laughs they had backstage. Michael Oakley's direction perfectly told the story, taking the audiences right to the heart of the playhouses of the 1600s. A must see of 2012 and Michael Oakley is one to watch in 2013.  

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1 comment:

HensTeeth said...

I saw Constellations only last weekend. It really is a brilliant show. The writing is sublime as are the performances. Nick Payne is on a par with Stoppard and Pinter with this play. I first heard his short plays on Radio 4 and was hooked. to watch in 2013.