End of year review: My 5 favourite fringe plays of 2019
Review: The Duchess of Malfi, Almeida Theatre or where has the magnetic Lydia Wilson been?

End of year review: My 5 least favourite plays of 2019

I always go to the theatre expecting something good, hopefully amazing, but it doesn't always work out that way for a variety of reasons. Here is a list of what hasn't impressed me, my 5 least favourite plays of 2019.

National theatre nudity and violence warning

In no particular order (links through to my reviews):

1. When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, National Theatre

My first chance to see Cate Blanchett on stage and she had to choose this tedious play which rendered potentially interesting themes cold, unengaging and, well, boring.

Despite the warnings (see pic) it was emotionally flaccid and about as exciting.

Still disappointed and a bit angry.

2. Admissions, Trafalgar Studio

It's a play about white privilege, told entirely from the nice, safe perspective of a white middle-class family. Oh, the irony.

Admissions failings are particularly stark given the swathe of powerful and clever plays we've had this year about race and prejudice for example Fairview, A Kind of People, Queens of Sheba and My White Best Friend.

3. Hedda Tesman, Minerva Theatre

I'm not a purist when it comes to the classics, changing the setting, gender or period can bring something fresh and new to a play but it doesn't always work.

Hedda Tesman is a case in point, turning Ibsen's iconic character from a young woman who finds her life suddenly mapped out for her to a mature woman with a grown-up daughter in a contemporary setting.

A youthful Hedda living in a patriarchal society can be forgiven a lot but an older Hedda, especially one living with the means to change her life cannot. She just becomes bitter and twisted and I found it hard to sympathise.

4. The Man In The White Suit, Wyndhams Theatre

A bit of escapism into a silly Ealing comedy was just what I needed in the Autumn, sadly despite some clever staging and the odd bright spot this didn't really deliver the laughs. Such a shame. 

5. The Starry Messenger, Wyndhams Theatre

While Matthew Broderick's comic timing is superb and the first half had plenty of laughs it couldn't detract from the fact that this is essentially a play about a man having a mid-life crisis affair with a younger woman and getting away with it.

Coming from the writer of the superb Manchester By The Sea, it felt a bit hackneyed and despite being only 10 years old was feeling its age.

An almost ran for this list was Rutherford & Son at the National Theatre but I was so bored after the hour-long first half I left and didn't return, so it feels unfair to 'officially' include it.

What do you think of my choices? Perhaps you saw something that disappointed or you disliked? Let me know in the comments.

You might also like to read:

Theatre I did like: My 5 favourite plays of 2019.

10 plays from the past 10 years that stand out.

From the archive: My favourite curtain call moments of 2015