The best came when the stages came back to life after the easing of the Covid regulations. Theaters lit up like beacons of hope and relief, and actors, singers and musicians, freed from slavery, went the extra mile to remind audiences of what they had been missing.
For a while, it was a glorious renaissance. The worst came at the end of the year with a series of funding cuts that will have a severe impact on the ecology of the theatre, particularly new writing.
The year started with the sumptuous spectacle of Red windmill!the musical based on the outrageously entertaining film by Baz Luhrmann.
Later in the year, US production of Oklahoma! at the Young Vic it was a revelation.
This electrifying revival exposed the dark heart of the original and poured it out onto the stage with new arrangements of the classic songs. My musical of the year.
Play revival of the year was the powerful Jez Butterworth Jerusalemwith Mark Rylance returning to the role of Rooster, the wild and riotous woodland dweller undone by his lawless hippy lifestyle but somehow glorious in his suburban paganism.
A rare sighting of Ionesco’s surreal comedy The Chairs at the Almeida featured the sublime husband and wife team Kathryn Hunter and Marcello Magni. It was their last appearance together as Magni died just six months later.
The comedy of the year was undoubtedly the National Theater production of Richard Bean and Oliver Chris’s Jack Absolute flies againa deliriously funny version of Sheridan’s The Rivals set on an estate during World War II.
Three one-person plays proved that you don’t need a large cast to ignite the imagination. first face starring Jodie Comer as the defense attorney who changes her mind about rape victims when she is assaulted herself, proving beyond a doubt that there was life for her post-Killing Eve.
At the Young Vic, Dutch actor Hans Kesting’s solo performance as a man trying to reconcile with his dead father in who killed my father it was nothing short of incendiary.
bruce norris clybourne park it received an excellent revival, at the Park Theatre, appropriately enough, and put the boot on American liberal hypocrisy in wildly funny fashion, including the most outrageous joke heard on stage all year.
I like this eureka day at the Old Vic with American actress Helen Hunt as a teacher desperately trying to run a post-hippy school whose “inclusiveness” rules offend no one, not even a “transracial adoptee.”
As regards the new works, three stood out: that of Tom Wells. big big sky in the Hampstead Theater studio was an exquisite four-handed set in a seaside cafe on the Norfolk coast, while Joe White’s blackout songs it was a searing two-handed game about young alcoholics.
At The Almeida, Peter Morgan’s Patriots was a timely examination of how Putin rose to power thanks to the financial and political support of oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
Finally, for sheer spectacle it would be hard to beat. my neighbor totoro at the Barbican, bringing Japanese anime to life with the biggest and most endearing puppets ever seen on stage.
#worst #theater #closed