My five favourite fringe productions of 2016
My favourite plays of 2016 - or the year it was pretty much all about women and Ivo Van Hove

My five favourite Shakespeare productions of 2016

Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet for the RSC 2016. Photo (c) Manuel Harlan

It's been 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death this year and I think theatre land did him proud. From Ivo Van Hove's five-plays-in-one epic King's of War to a 90-minute Hamlet and a motion capture Ariel (I've yet to see the latter) here are five of my favourites:

Henry V, RSC, Barbican

Seen as the final play in the tetralogy this was a worthy final chapter due in part to Alex Hassell's wonderful performance as the playboy prince turned warrior king.

Midsummer Night's Dream, Lyric Hammersmith

This was just so inventive and so much fun. Don't think I've laughed quite so much at Shakespeare (or in a theatre).

King Lear, RSC, Barbican

Never really warmed to King Lear as a play until I saw this production. I laughed, cried, gasped and was utterly gripped from start to finish.

Hamlet, RSC, Royal Shakespeare Theatre

I've seen more Hamlet's than any other play and I've seen some cracking productions but I'd put this up there with the Old Vic/Ben Whishaw as my all time favourite. Paapa Essiedu was breathtaking in a production of fully rounded characters. (He was also brilliant in King Lear.)

The Tempest, King's Cross Theatre (Donmar)

This completed the series of all women, prison-set Shakespeare production's the Donmar has produced and proved to be a clever, lively, fresh and contemporary take. And always good to see Jade Anouka on stage, this time playing a street-wise Ariel.


There was another production worthy of this list, David Tennant's Richard II which wowed me all over again but I haven't included it as it was on the 'best of' list for 2013 which was when I first saw it.

Related posts:

My least favourite plays of 2016

Five favourite fringe plays of 2016

Overall favourite plays of 2016