It has been absolutely ages since I last did a post like this, but thought this year is worthy of a celebration. 2022 has taught me a lot as a reviewer, especially coming to terms with not being able to cover everything, however much I want to! Through it all, it's most important to focus on the amazing achievements and the best experiences to come from them, so without further ado, in no particular order, here are my top shows of the year:
Newsies- Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre
A late entry as a December viewing, but I'm unsure if I've ever seen anything quite so spectacular as this show. The impeccable skill involved to pull it off is immeasurable: the must-see of the century.
Operation Mincemeat- Riverside Studios
I've never been more glad for a show to get the recognition it deserves. Just hoping for a cast recording, as I can't wait to be back to review again upon its return next year!
But I'm a Cheerleader- Turbine Theatre
I had no idea what to expect from this, though it turned out to be a hit! The cast were fantastic, and it was so much fun. A cast recording is also needed for this one please, whoever can make that happen...
Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World- Theatre Royal Stratford East
There's something about this one that means I could watch it on repeat forever and never get bored. The score is addictive, and feminist notions strong, with it being a show for everyone.
Anything Goes- Barbican
I was curious to see what everyone was raving about here, but with Kerry Ellis taking on the lead in style, and after seeing that tap sequence, I get it. Great choreography, and unexpected humour too!
My Fair Lady- Coliseum
Though this isn't my typical bag, the magnificent set and wonderful complimenting cast totally sold it to me as some iconic traditional theatre.
Ride- Charing Cross Theatre
Narrowly missing out on those 5 stars, this one is destined for great things. Despite the small cast and staging, there is so much to it that comes as a surprise, and I'm sure it won't be long until we hear of a return.
Monster- Park Theatre
I think this is one of the most skilfully written pieces I've been lucky enough to watch, and can't praise it enough really. Gripping, twisted and emotional at every turn.
Atypical Rainbow- Turbine Theatre
The portrayal that JJ Green gives in his show was stunning, and particularly touching, with staging to match. Being an important storyline, I also went and bought the play script afterwards, to honour his great writing!
First Time- The Pleasance (Main House)
Thoroughly engaging, while being informative, hilarious yet moving at points, Nathaniel Hall's solo show about HIV was a hit (and had the incredible bonus of interviewing him over Zoom too, which was a dream!).
Joshua and Me- The Pleasance (Downstairs)
After missing its first showing, I was so thankful to make it to this one, and it was worth the wait. Discussing life with an autistic sibling, Rachel Hammond used her actor-musician expertise to create a piece that illustrates this experience beautifully.
Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon- Southwark Playhouse
This has been a show that has stuck in my mind since I saw it. The way that Rosie Day conveyed her writing was faultless, and I've since enjoyed reading her book with the same name. I loved her excellent storytelling in this play.
Kinky Boots in concert- Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Having not been able to see the original show when it was on West End, I absolutely jumped at the chance to get to this, and it was such a fantastic experience to watch (and certainly hope to see the full production one day too).
Millennials- The Other Palace
This song cycle was just pure joy. In a space that is incomparable with its all-encompassing theme and catchy tracks, it was a unique chance to be part of an intimate performance with some of our favourite stagey stars- such a treat.
So that's that! I love how completely coincidentally almost no two of these were in the same space: this truly proves that the best theatre could be housed anywhere.
Additional special mentions to Mary Poppins, Sister Act, & Juliet, We Will Rock You and Bat Out of Hell (of which I'm thoroughly looking forward to the returns of the latter two!) who although were not press invites, were some of my other favourite shows of the year.
I'd like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported my site, from the wonderful PR people, to you readers; interviewees or front of house teams that make the theatre experience that extra bit enjoyable. I absolutely can't wait to see what 2023 has in store, and wish you all a very Happy New Year!
Note: my Newsies review was written for the amazing London Theatre Reviews, so that is me here!