2017 is already the year that brought us Andrew Scott's Hamlet, Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman and my introduction to playwright Branden Jacob-Jenkins and it's only six months in. There are a further nine plays I couldn't not include in my 'best of so far' list and that was with the bar set very high. I've still got Angels in America, Ben Whishaw in Against, Rory Kinnear in Young Marx and the awarding winning Oslo to come later this year, among many others potential theatre treats - the end of year list is already looking tricky to narrow down.
Anyway, here's what I've enjoyed the most in 2017 so far. Feel free to agree/disagree...
(In no particular order, because that would be too traumatic to do.)
1. Amadeus, National Theatre This was supposed to be a 2016 play but I gave up my ticket for the early part of the run because of work pressures, good words from @PolyG made me rebook for January and I'm so glad I did. It was a play that unexpectedly floored me. It's returning next year and yes I've got a ticket.
2. Out Their On Fried Meat Ridge Road, White Bear Fringe theatre kicked off in fine style with this brilliantly warm, funny, odd, dark, misfit comedy that was the antidote to everything disturbing that was going on the world at the time. It transferred to Trafalgar Studios 2 and I got to enjoy it all over again.
3. Hamlet, Almeida I've seen a lot of Hamlet's and there is usually something new in each but Andrew Scott's prince in Robert Icke's production made me look at the play with completely new eyes. Sorry Sherlock but this was a battle that Moriarty definitely won. It's transferred to the West End.
4. An Octoroon, Orange Tree Theatre Was tipped off about American playwright Branden Jacob-Jenkins and this is the first of his plays I've seen. It's a play I could write reams and reams about and reminded me why I love going to the theatre. Gloria, another of his plays is currently on at Hampstead Theatre, it didn't quite make this list but it is still really good.
5. Rotterdam, Arts Theatre This was in my 'best of' list last year but after a stint off Broadway it's come back to London to the bigger Arts Theatre. It made me laugh, it made me gasp and it made me cry - all that even though I've seen it before and knew exactly what was coming. That's why it's back on the list. It's on until 15 July.
6. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Old Vic It's possibly the only Tom Stoppard play I really like and this was a great production that was lively, entertaining, profound and melancholic . There was a brilliant rapport between the two leads - Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire - and David Haig as The Player was worth the ticket price alone.
7. Consent, National Theatre A roller coaster ride of a play: amusing, sharp, intelligent and thought-provoking, a great piece of writing, brilliantly performed.
8. BU21, Trafalgar Studios 2 The aftermath of a fictional terrorist attack that is depicted using real testimony from events around the world. It was cleverly done and done in a way that managed to be entertaining as well as an uncomfortable to watch.
9. The Ferryman, Royal Court Jez Butterworth is back with a bang. This was another roller coaster ride of a play that had laughs, gasps, tension and tears. The producers knew they had a hit on their hands, announcing a transfer to the West End before it even opened at the Royal Court, and they were right. The West End run at the Gielgud Theatre has recently been extended to Jan 2018.
10. Speech and Debate, Trafalgar Studios 2 Three high school misfits, a sex scandal and The Crucible re-imagined with a time travelling Abraham Lincoln. Witty, with plenty of black humour this was a comedy with depth.
11. Ink, Almeida James Graham points his pen towards Fleet Street in the late 60s and the rebirth of The Sun newspaper under Rupert Murdoch and Larry Lamb. It's a feisty play that leaves you with plenty to mull over and debate. You can catch it until 5 August.
12. Dirty Great Love Story, Arts Theatre This was a brilliantly modern romantic comedy that had me guffawing with laughter and not many romantic comedies actually manage to do that.