Lockdown London theatre walks: Old Red Lion Theatre, Islington and seeing an early career Olly Alexander
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Sunday theatre question: Favourite solo performance

Sometimes plays just have one actor. They might be playing one character, they might be playing many, but they don't have any other actors to play off. It is just them and their performance.

Sunday theatre question solo performance

There are no distractions, it's just you and them.

Do you have a favourite solo performance?

The moment I started thinking about this, I realised it was going to be really tricky to choose a favourite as I've seen some superb solo performances over the years.

So here are a couple of notable mentions... and my overall winner:

Carey Mulligan in Girls and Boys, Royal Court Theatre

A tour de force performance from Carey Mulligan in which she manages to paint a picture of domesticity filling the stage with a family that is only their in our imagination while subtly hinting at something different. It's a play that surprised and a lot of that was down to the delivery.

Cillian Murphy, Misterman, National Theatre

Not only was it a solo performance, it was a solo performance on the Lyttelton stage which is one of the biggest in London. And Cillian Murphy made use of the entire space. It was a superb performance that mixed humour and fun with something darker and sinister, and I still remember it vividly.

Anna Deavere Smith, Notes From The Field, Royal Court

Last year when Rev Stan's theatre blog had its 10th birthday I chose my favourite play for each year, and this was my choice for 2018. And it was up against stiff competition that year.

Anna Deavere Smith performs using the words of real people she'd interviewed, and I've never seen anything quite like it.  Few props meant the stage was given up to pure performance - which was in itself a masterclass of nuance and observation. Each interviewee was brought vividly to life. 

It wasn't an easy watch telling real stories of racial injustice in the US, but there was also a glimmer of hope. There was spontaneous applause, spontaneous 'Amens', and at one point, I found myself standing and singing Amazing Grace with the rest of the audience. And I'm not sure how that happened. 

It was a play that reminded me what theatre is for and what great theatre is and I gave it 6 stars. For that, it's my favourite.

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