Sunday, December 17, 2006

Review of 2006

Okay, so there's still a couple of weeks left of 2006, and we've still to see "The Canterville Ghost" next weekend, but as we've already had the BBC Sports Personality of the Year last weekend I think now is probably a good time to do a round-up of the highlights of 2006 - and I promise I'll remember to include "The Canterville Ghost" in next year's Review...

No fixed categories to work through - just making it up as I go along and remember some of the things I've enjoyed the past 12 months - and there have been so so many.

Favourite Newly Created/Devised Performance
It would have been easy have go for the NTS/Grid Iron production of "Roam" with its thought provoking themes and incredible staging at Edinburgh Airport, and I do count myself as genuinely fortunate to have caught this experience, but it has already had plenty of recognition this year with numerous awards and I think there was another show this year that was equally worthy. TheatreFusion's "Whitechapel Murders" focused on the victims of "Jack the Ripper" and the policeman who tried to catch him. Its stated aim to make the audience aware of their backgrounds and their stories was completely achieved and it managed to maintain a lighter tone at times while remaining totally appropriate given the subject matter. Great writing, great performances and a brilliant setting at Glasgow's Brittania Panoptican.

Favourite Performance of an Existing Work/Adaptation
Nonsenseroom's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was outstanding but on looking back at the year I think Cumbernauld Senior Youth Theatre's "The Princess Bride" edges it - brilliantly adapted from a much loved original work that would have been so easy to do badly. Very clever portrayal of the story's big set pieces, creative use of dialogue/narration and great central performances.

Favourite Edinburgh Festival Show
We didn't see a bad show but the best was "A Midsummer Night's Dream" but "The Receipt" ran it close with its hugely entertaining interaction between the performers.

Favourite Male Performance
Interestingly both of the performances that come to mind are from separate shows by Rapture Theatre, Jimmy Chisholm as the broken Lawson in "The Collection" and John Kazek as Ralph in "Frozen". Hats off also to the guys from Theatre Modo's "Don Quixote" who must have really done themselves some damage the way they threw themselves around the stage.

Favourite Female Performance
Natalie Bennett as Helena in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" made a great show an incredible one, differentiating clearly between her two roles and displaying brilliant comic timing and facial expressions.
Other notable performances were Melissa Deans playing Inigo in "The Princess Bride" and Siobhan Redmond whose stage presence as Elizabeth in "Mary Stuart" was immense.

Favourite Youth Theatre Show
Already mentioned, Cumbernauld Senior Youth Theatre's "The Princess Bride" runs away with this one, but the SYT's "Arabian Nights" and Citizens Youth Theatre's "Geeks, Greeks and Party Myths" were also hugely enjoyable.

If 2007 can be half as good as 2006 has been I can't wait...