2018 theatre review: My least favourite plays of the year
Not all the plays I see are brilliant. Some are 'OK' and easily forgotten but then there are those that haunt but not in a good way. Seeing 100+ shows a year it's inevitable that some will disappoint and these are the ones that did just that in 2018.
1. A Very Very Very Dark Matter, Bridge Theatre
I love Martin McDonagh's writing and his dark humour and was stupidly excited to see a new play but this wasn't going down as a favourite.
It feels like a play that should have had another few months of development and it is the wasted opportunities and clunky moments that have stayed with me rather than the good bits.
2. Foxfinder, Ambassadors Theatre
A play and production that couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a surreal comedy or a thriller and failed at both. All the more disappointing because it had a great cast.
Second entry for the Bridge on the list, this time a new Alan Bennett play which had me ducking out at the interval. It was too wrapped up in whimsey to carry any punch and by the interval getting an early night was more desirable than finding out what happened.
4. Absolute Hell, National Theatre*
I found the plot too peripheral and with so many characters there was little depth. It felt very long.
5. Exit The King, National Theatre
Bored, bored, bored, bored.
So much promise: A play written by a woman, directed by a woman and performed by women.
I've seen some great feminist theatre this year but this didn't come close, what I got was 65 minutes of anger that alienated the audience.
The poster and trailers were selling the passion between Macbeth and Lady M but that didn't materialise on stage and what you got was a bunch of unsavoury characters killing each other.
As a result, I didn't care and left disappointed as I love Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff.
Another play that resulted in an interval exit. It was very long and slow play and by the second interval, I didn't care if I never found out what happened so I decided on an early night instead.
I'm a fan of Philip Ridley's plays but I wasn't a fan of this.
Gender swapping roles between performances appeared to be nothing more than a gimmick and whole sections felt underdeveloped. In the end, the only thing I felt was a relief when it finished.
* I see far more plays at the National Theatre than any other theatre which in part explains why there are a few from there on this list - my overall best of list might balance things out. Might.
And on a more positive note, you might like to read: Best of Fringe Theatre for 2018.
Still to come: My overall best theatre of 2018