That was June in London theatre-land
Review: Mike Bartlett's Wild, Hampstead Theatre

Rev Stan's 10 best plays of 2016 so far

4267324_ee18d61bbe_mSo we have reached the half way point of the year which is a good time to reflect on what I've really enjoyed or what has made its mark so far.  In case you were wondering, I've seen 50 plays (not including repeat visits) and the quality has been high. There has also been a good variety of things to see - some particularly good comedies - and some great fringe productions. The second half of the year holds a lot of promise which could make my end of year list trickier than usual.

1. A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing, Young Vic  A powerful and emotional 90 minute solo performance by Aoife Duffin.

2. The Crucible, Walter Kerr Theatre, New York Not every play Ben Whishaw is in makes it onto my best of lists (honest). The Old Vic's production of The Crucible in 2014 with Richard Armitage playing John Procter was cracking so this had a lot to live up to and director Ivo Van Hove's very different production including the against-type casting of Mr W as Procter ticked a whole series of different boxes.

3. Hamlet, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon  Possibly the best Hamlet I've seen, so far and I've seen quite a few.

4. Kings of War, Barbican Theatre Four and a half hours of Shakespeare performed in Dutch with English subtitles - I wasn't sure at first but by the end I was utterly gripped.

5. Hand To God, Vaudeville Theatre It was a Marmite comedy involving a satanic sock puppet and I loved it. Harry Melling just gets better and better.

6. The Nap, Sheffield Crucible A great new comedy set in the world of snooker and the first time I've seen screen-fav Jack O'Connell on stage. He's said in an interview recently that The Nap will transfer to London early next year if a suitable theatre can be found. Will definitely go and see it again.

7. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lyric Hammersmith Must confess that I've got a little bit jaded with MSND but this was such a cracking and inventive production it had me laughing pretty much throughout.

8. Blackbird, Belasco Theatre, New York Two characters in a room having a difficult conversation for 90 minutes - at times I had to remember to breath.

9. Deep Blue Sea, National Theatre Helen McCrory gives an unforgettable performance in this superb Rattigan revival. (It is playing until Sep 21.)

10. Odd Shaped Balls, Old Red Lion Another powerful solo performance that managed to inject sensitivity and emotion into the testosterone-fuelled world of rugby.

Photo by Paul Downey on Flickr and used under a creative commons license.