Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review of the Year - 2008

It's reached that time of year again where we look back on what we've enjoyed, and with over 100 productions to choose from we shouldn't be short of a few highlights...

Back in May we really enjoyed "The Drawer Boy" but I commented that 'by next week it will probably be a vague memory of having had an enjoyable night at the theatre' - yet I was completely wrong and months later it is still vivid in my memory. Beautifully written and directed I think it was probably my favourite play of the year - Brian Pettifer, Benny Young and Brian Ferguson were simply phenomenal and delivered three of the best male performances we saw this year.

Other male acting highlights included the masterful Will Lyman in "The Patriot Act" and Stephen Hudson's breathtaking performance in "Zero".

Another show that made a big impression early in the year was Borderline's production of D C Jackson's "The Wall" - a beautifully observed comedy of teenage angst. It also gave us one of the best female performances of the year from Kirstin McLean.

Indira Varma's performance in "Twelfth Night" was another highlight - as was Cora Bissett in the delightful"Midsummer [A Play with Songs]" which proved to be our most out-and-out enjoyable show this year.

But many of this year's high points can't exactly be called 'enjoyable' due to their content. Sweetscar's production of Sarah Kane's "4.48 Psychosis" was an unforgettable experience and Waldorf raved about "Deep Cut" for which I couldn't get a ticket. But I only have myself to blame for missing another show which she considers to be her favourite show of the year - "Amada".

There have been many shows that contained moments of theatrical magic that will be burned into our memories for years to come - the final moments of "Restitution", the 'Munchkin Strike' segment of "Wicked Christmas 3" and the incredibly powerful moments in "The Caravan". We've also been left with very fond memories of "Sunshine on Leith", "Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off" and "Heer Ranjha (Retold)".

But if we are talking about sheer entertainment value there isn't any doubt about my highlight of the year, and to be honest I'll consider myself hugely fortunate if I ever have more fun in a theatre than I did at "An Audience with Brian Blessed".

And yet, even as 2008 slips away, we've already got high hopes for 2009.