It feels like theatre returned with a splash in 2023 after the dark days of Covid. I saw 62 and a half plays (64 and a half, including second viewings) across London's plethora of theatres, from tiny pubs to big West End stages.
Here are my favourite 10 plays - in no particular order (links are to the full review).
This was a fun, lively and inventive storytelling, with brilliant fight scenes.
Based on a real same-sex couple living in the 18th Century Prussia, this was a witty, effervescent and heartbreaking play.
Subtle shifts and throwaway remarks build to make a powerful point.
A harrowing and compelling play that utterly flawed me and I had to go back and see it again.
Superb performances in this sharp, funny and interesting play. So good, I had to see it twice.
I'm not a football fan, but this evoked laughter, spontaneous applause - and cheers.
This haunting, tragic play really got under my skin.
A multilayered play that continually surprised.
Lively, fresh, fast-paced theatre which creatively captured a modern dilemma.
Funny and richly layered play with a superb performance by Samuel Barnett
And my 4 least favourite
1. When Winston Went to War With the Wireless, Donmar Warehouse
This felt like a play straining to live up to a clever alliterative title.
2. Pygmalion, Old Vic Theatre
Annoying hyper characters and gurning performances. Still makes me shudder thinking about it, and I love Patsy Ferran.
Read the full review here.
3. Cold War, Almeida Theatre
Is it or isn't it a musical that was the question when booking. Turned out it was, and the songs frustrated the story, so I left at the interval. I made a video explaining my decision...
4. Rock 'n' Roll, Hampstead Theatre
This was my last attempt to find an engaging Tom Stoppard play that isn't Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. And it didn't work.
I didn't care about any of the characters or get most of the cultural/historical references, which left me feeling stupid and annoyed.
Only R&G from now on, I'm done with all other Stoppard.
You can read my full review here.
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