Oh this has been tough, it's been a good year and a bumper year, 71 plays in all. Meagre compared to Ought To Be Clowns 291 and Glen Pearce's 141 but I do go to the cinema rather a lot too so I don't feel like a complete lightweight.
Anyway, I'm afraid I've knicked Mark Kermode's idea of having a 'nearly made it' list, the stuff that I loved but didn't quite make it into the top 10, call it highly commended if you like. I've also added some random categories at the end, if you get that far.
The nearly made it list:
Red at the Donmar gets a special mention not least for the priming the canvas scene. Then there was Private Lives with the gorgeous sexy spy no. 1 (Matthew MacFadyen) and the suprising talent that was Kim Cattrall. King Lear at the Donmar engrossed me in the play in a way the RSC's version I saw a couple of years ago failed to do. And a late entry, Bea at the Soho Theatre which was my last play of the year and great way to finish. Al Weaver is a rising star or certainly should be.
But here is the top ten (no particular order):
The Pride, Lucille Lortel Theatre, NY - What? Ben Whishaw, on stage, in New York? And that combo isn't going to earn it a place in my top ten? Play was brilliant too.
London Assurance, National Theatre - Larger than life characters played by stage royalty like Fiona Shaw, Simon Russell Beale & Richard Briers meant London Assurance was hard to beat for pure entertainment value.
The Man, Finborough - Pub theatre at its best, an innovative but simple concept very well executed. Just a shame I didn't get to see it more than once as each performance had a wonderful randomness and a rota of actors taking the lead. I saw the lovely Samuel Barnett.
All My Sons, Apollo Theatre - Fantastic production with breathtaking performances from Zoe Wanamaker and David Suchet. And they had a proper lawn on the stage.
Beauty Queen of Leenane, Young Vic - Predicted this would be on my favourite plays list when I wrote my review. It was darkly humourous and had a delicious slow-burn twist.
Ivan and the Dogs, Soho Theatre - Like being back at story time in school. One actor and a totally gripping story.
Clybourne Park, Royal Court - Another play that is featuring regularly on lists. A difficult and volatile subject matter handled with perfection. Never has laughter been so uncomfortable.
Hamlet, National Theatre - My favourite play and this Hytner version was a voyage of discovery. Great production and Rory Kinnear completely convinced me as Hamlet when I had, unfairly, not been that excited by his being cast. Liked it so much I saw it twice, and if I can get another ticket before it finishes, I will go again.
The Glass Menagerie - Some great theatrical devices and moving performances and not a big name star in sight.
The technically not a play in a theatre but....
Two commendations for this one: First the brilliantly funny Celebrity Autobiography in which David Tennant among other read from celebs autobiographies. Sounds a bit dull but I haven't laughed so much in years. And secondly, finally seeing a recording of Mr W's Hamlet at the Old Vic courtesy of the V&A archive. It was a dream come true.
New additions to the Rev Stan tea and cake list:
Al Weaver (Bea), Martin Freeman (Clybourne Park) and Colin Morgan (soon to be at the Royal Court, a slight cheat but it's my list and I'll cheat if I want to)
And the big fat raspberries go to:
Terror 2010, Southwark Playhouse for being completely dull and awful and my friends that I persuaded to join me still aren't talking to me.
Dracula, Greenwich Playhouse for biting off far more than it could chew and consequently producing something that most am-dram socs would be ashamed of.
The RSC, not for its productions which are generally marvellous but because they sell restricted view seats without warning the purchaser and ignore any correspondence on the subject. I wouldn't have thought the RSC was quite so bad if the National Theatre hadn't contacted me a week before seeing Hamlet to say they'd reallocated my seats because it turns out the original ones had a restricted view. Went from £15 tickets to top price in the middle of the stalls. And it was all unprompted.
Good egg award:
This goes to the National for reasons stated above.
Other theatre bloggers lists/awards I like: