The perfect Pitman Painters
The most important theatre awards (after the Whingies*): The StOliviers 2011

Rev Stan's 2011 theatre review - the good and the bad lists

60359041_8e307fb149Well, well, well, here we are, another year gone by but what a bumper year it has been. My theatre going reached a new level of frequency for a start, kicking 2010's total of over 70 into a round 100 plays seen in 2011.

I'm still a lightweight compared to some (@trpw, @glenpearce1, @oughttobeclowns...) I know, but I have seen over 80 films too and that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

2011 saw arrival of the Stan Theatre Spreadsheet which was my attempt to be more scientific, marking everything I saw out of 100.

There was still a bit of overlap in scores among those plays vying for my top ten so I judged based on entertainment value and how memorable the production was, compared to the other contenders. This, combined with the scores, decided the ultimate order and which plays made the final slots.

Anyway without further ado, here are the best and worst of what I saw in 2011:

The best (in order):

1. Jerusalem (Apollo Theatre) 

Late to the party on this one but like to think I turn up with a nice bottle of fizz just as the drinks are running out

2. Richard III (Propeller Theatre Company at Hampstead)

My new love affair begins, Propeller are genius...

3. Comedy of Errors (Propeller Theatre Company at Hampstead)

...and they made me properly laugh at Shakespeare comedy for the first time.

4. Frankenstein (both versions, National Theatre)

Hands down the theatre spectacle of the year and getting the leads to swap roles put a whole new spin on revisiting a play as an audience member.

5. Wittenberg (Gate Theatre)

Every now and again comes a fringe production that punches way above it's weight. This is one of those.

6. Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket)

The best Rattigan play of year, will never forget Sheridan Smith's trembling chin (in the same way I won't forget Nancy Carroll's snot crying in After The Dance the year before)

7. Broken Glass (Tricycle)

Breathtaking performances my first of what I'm hoping will be many trips to see plays with Antony Sher in.

8. Vernon God Little (Young Vic)

Revival lived up to all the hype and fond memories of the first production in 2007. A genius adaptation of a book you'd never think would make a play.

9. Collaborators (National Theatre)

Stalin funny? Genius script and acting. Simon Russell Beale is so going on my tea and cake list for sure (he can be mother).

10 Much Ado About Nothing (Tennant/Tate, Wyndhams)

The second theatrical event of the year that brought out a lot of snobbishness from certain quarters but I ended up seeing it three times and there ain't any other plays you can say that about this year. (And no I'm not a David Tennant/Dr Who fan)

Honourable mentions have to go to these productions which didn't quite have sharp enough elbows to get to head of the queue: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (TRH), The Pride (Sheffield Crucible), Anna Christie (Donmar), When Did You Last See My Mother (Trafalgar Studios 2) and Richard II (Donmar) which I saw for a second time last night and Eddie Redmayne made me cry this time.

 Worst (ie got less than 3 stars)

1. Get Santa (Royal Court)

Like all my nightmares rolled into one: adult playing a kid with screechy annoying voice, songs and a sinister teddy bear.

2. Moonlight (Donmar)


3. Death and the Maiden (Harold Pinter Theatre)

Great play crippled by a weak central performance.

4. Woman Killed With Kindness (National Theatre)

Can someone just slap Katie Mitchell and remind her there is a paying audience in the auditorium. The lack of interval presumably was by design to stop a mass exodus.

And some other nerdy stats to come out of my spread sheet:

My best month was February with an average score of 75.83% per play and April was my worst with an average play score of 54.47%.

There is a tie for the actual theatre venue visited the most, with 12 visits each: National Theatre (average play score of 65.42%) and Royal Court (average play score 64.73).

Right now that is quite enough. Thanks for reading if you got this far...

Fireworks picture by Annie Mole on Flickr