Even this is a month too late. Hopeless. Anywhere here is my take on the best theatre of 2019.
There were a lot of really good productions in 2019. But these were the ones which pinned me to my seat. Where I was wowed by just what theatre can do. With the writer always at the beating heart.
More or less in order.
- Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse. Lynn Nottage’s document of de-industrialised America wore its research lightly and didn’t forget to be a gripping personal drama.
- All My Sons at the Old Vic. Jeremy Herrin and A list cast knew exactly how to ratchet up Miller’s didactic tragedy ….
- Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic. ….. and Marianne Elliott got right inside Willy’s wretched head.
- Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads at the Spiegeltent Chichester. Immersed in Roy Williams’s vital examination of race and nationhood.
- Ovid’s Metamorphoses from Pants on Fire at the Vaults Festival. Just hilarious Greek myth sketch collection transposed on a shoestring to WWII Britain.
- The Watsons at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Laura Wade’s brilliant riff on authorship drawn from Jane Austen’s unfinished novel.
- Shook at the Southwark Playhouse. Samuel Bailey’s oh so alive Papatango winning debut play. (See it at Trafalgar Studios from April).
- Shipwreck at the Almeida Theatre. Anne Washburn’s extraordinary liberal guilt, state of the nation debate fantasia.
- Medea from International Theater Amsterdam at the Barbican. The world’s greatest theatre company update one of the world’s greatest ever stories.
- Small Island at the National Theatre. Andrea Levy’s mesmerising story gloriously brought to life on the Olivier stage.