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My best of theatre list for 2017 - with some rom-com, Chekhov and Christmas surprises

If you'd told me at the start of the year that there would be a rom-com, a Chekhov and a Christmas play on my best of list, I'd have laughed in your face. Just goes to show you should always expect the are my favourite plays of 2017, in no particular order and links are to my reviews.

An Octoroon - Orange Tree Theatre - publicity photo by The Other Richard
An Octoroon - Orange Tree Theatre - publicity photo by The Other Richard

Dirty Great Love Story, Arts Theatre

Let's face it most rom-coms are a bit rubbish - they generally aren't that funny - but this tale of modern romance had me guffawing with laughter and I wasn't on my own.

An Octoroon, Orange Tree Theatre

This is a play that reminded me why I love going to the theatre and I could write pages on it. Thought-provoking, sometime uncomfortable to watch and yet it was still entertaining. It's transferring to the National Theatre in June and I'll definitely be getting a ticket.

Apologia, Trafalgar Studios

In my review I said: "Apologia is a play of sharp humour and depth that slowly breaks down the defences to reveal something raw and emotional. You will laugh and you will have a lump in your throat." It was also a great play for female characters.

Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Road, White Bear Theatre and Trafalgar Studios 2

This odd-ball, misfit comedy was a breath of fresh air and it got a much deserved transfer so I got to enjoy it a second time.

Hamlet, Almeida

Up there as one of the best Hamlet productions I've seen, it made me see the play anew.

BU21, Trafalgar Studios 2

Writer Stuart Slade took real testimonies from terrorist attacks around the world and used them to create a story around a fictional attack in London. The result was an honest, awkward and funny piece that was also really clever.

Beginning, National Theatre and Ambassadors. Photo: Johan Persson.

The Seagull, Lyric Hammersmith

Regular readers will know of my struggle with Chekhov but while The Seagull is one of his plays that I actually quite like, I never thought I like it enough to see it on my best of list. Simon Stephen's adaptation, directed by Sean Holmes teased out the humour and elevated the tragedy. It also felt like an ensemble piece which was refreshing.

Beginning, National Theatre

Contemporary, fresh, smart, wry and funny - even Sam Troughton looked uncharacteristically pleased at the curtain call. It's transferring to the Ambassadors Theatre in January.

My Name is Rachel Corrie, Young Vic

A powerful and moving solo performance by Erin Doherty telling the true story of Rachel Corrie who didn't sit back wishing she could help.

The Ferryman, Royal Court

A gripping, tense, heartbreaking and funny story brilliantly told. And there were animals. What more could you ask? It transferred to the West End and is still playing in the West End at the Gielgud Theatre. Fingers crossed we don't have to wait quite so long for Jez Butterworth's next play.

Network, National Theatre

Set in the 70s but with so much that is relevant today this play stayed with me long after I left the theatre. Oh and Bryan Cranston spoke to me and @PolyG. It is playing until March 24, 2018 rush tickets and day seats available.

Speech and Debate, Trafalgar Studios 2

A teen drama that managed to be silly and serious and it had the fabulous Patsy Ferran in it.

A Christmas Carol, Old Vic

I don't celebrate Christmas as in I spend the day quite happily by myself with no Christmas tree or presents or cards but I was humming Christmas carols when I came out of the theatre after seeing this. It warmed the cockles and made me a bit giddy with festive cheer - when the audience applauds fake snow you know it's a winner.  It's on at the Old Vic until January 20.

Related posts

My 5 biggest theatre disappointments of 2017

StOlivier Awards 2017

My best of theatre list for 2016 - it was all about female leads and Ivo Van Hove

Mid year review for 2017 - it was a really good first half of the year.