Top Shows of 2017.

Top shows of 2017.

Happy New Year! What better way to reflect on the past year than in theatre, so with much further ado, here are my top shows that I saw in 2017. I usually do them in order, however I saw so many shows this year, that the best I could do was rattle it down to my equally top five.

Sweeney Todd at the Barrow Street Theatre

Sweeney Todd 
Barrow Street Theater

I saw this a couple of weeks ago, just before I left New York. It was, surprisingly, the first professionally done Sondheim musical I’ve seen. I was surprised as you are! It was a brilliantly immersive piece of theatre, definitely aided by our cheeky upgrade from a very nice usher from $30 seats to $200 seats, right in the middle of the action. The acting was fantastic, and I was both terrified and thrilled throughout the whole show.

Torch Song

TORCH SONG
By HARVEY FIERSTEIN
2ND Stage

I saw this at the right time in my life I think. It was what I needed to see. The acting was brilliant, and I loved the whole story. The attention to detail from the neon sign of the title to the motif in sign language of “I love you, but not enough”. The simplicity of the show and the symbolism made the punch that more powerful. I think it’s an important piece to be shown, and it was very moving. It had an air of melancholy, however still left you with a tiny bit of hope to reach out for at the end.

Dear Evan Hansen

ap_17163052478915_wide-2a31b8b8ade54f82e40d59e9a5989d1fb11a0788-s900-c85It’s no surprise that this made my top five this year. Again I think it’s one of those shows that you have to see at the right time in your life. I was very lucky to see the original cast, and I enjoyed the show immensely. It is no surprise Ben Platt won a Tony for his performance. It’s a contemporary story, that flourishes within the music and the production aspects of the piece. The production designer did a brilliant job of capturing a limbo of technology.  was a melancholic, funny, technical wonder, with a hint of hope strung throughout it.

Much Ado about Nothing

Much-Ado-About-Nothing-Shakespeares-Globe1-700x455

This being my favourite Shakespeare I was thrilled to see it at the Globe Theatre. This production was full of life, love and colour. The Mexican revolution breathed new life into the show, encouraged by the cast that was completely in sync, and the vendetta against Americans. I love the play and I loved this production. It’s Shakespeare in the Shakespeare Globe, what could be better?

Once on this Island

04onceisland1-superJumboI loved this show, because it felt different from the other things I had seen on the New York stage. Probably due to the lack of white actors, and western narrative, that despite all the cries from diversity on the west end and broadway stages, still seems to dominate the theatrical world. The cast were extremely talented, however the stage and costume design of the production is really what shone for me. Starting with simple ideas they flourished into a fully immersive set and colourful array of costume. This show was dripping with passion, culture, life and colour.

Honourable mentions. There are so many shows that I just couldn’t leave out. 

Woyzeck – An intense and foreboding production, with brilliant acting from John Boyega.

The Mad Ones–  A Brilliant off-broadway coming of age musical, with sweet music and a moving narrative.

Spongebob Squarepants– I know, I know, but it was surprisingly good, and weirdly political. The music was fantastic and the production value was insane.  Ethan Slater, Spongebob, made the show.

Life of Galileo– A beautiful show, with the stars, science and politics interwoven into the production. “Truth is in the trial of a moment, not in the past”

Amadeus – A whirlwind of human emotion and the madness of genius, with a very contemporary look on a very classic story.

Hamlet – Fantastic acting from Andrew Scott, with a darker and more modern outlook on a classic Shakespeare.

Trainspotting – A Brilliantly immersive and inherently Scottish production, with brilliant acting and a dingy and dark feel to it.

Twelfth Night – A fun, fantastical, detailed production.All the gender-bending it made the show into a colourful queer-fest, with a brilliant, and practical set.

Best Wishes into the new year, and I hope it is full of Happiness and Theatre!

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Amadeus – National Theatre

Tonight I went to see Amadeus, at the National, after trying to get a ticket for ages. Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, follows the story of Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the 1700s.

The music, as expected, was spectacular. Having the musicians on stage is a great touch, and blurred the lines between theatre and concert.  The musicians also made up the chorus, and the ensemble movement pieces, were a nice touch, stopping it from becoming a two-man show. Speaking of the two men. Lucian Msamti, Salieri, was great, his powerful stature, meant that he addressed the audience with confidence, and in the second half, truly had power. Adam Gillan, Mozart, brought the youthfulness that the show needed, with it being set in the 1700s, this was all aided by the little modern elements, that were shown every once in a while. Where Msamati spoke to the audience, Gillan, commanded the audience, or he pandered to them – I honestly can’t tell. I loved it though. It lightened up the piece, and the language, felt more 21st century, rather than 18th.  On the other hand, Karla Crome, Constanze, was also brilliant, her presence was more subtle than her counterpart, Gillan, however just as powerful. Also Fleur de Bray, Katherina, had a glass shattering voice.

The musicians stayed on stage, for most of the show, in an orchestra set-up. The centre of the stage dipped for the performances of the operas. There was also a permanent secondary stage located at the back of stage, and in moments of climax it was pulled forward, shrouding the audience in some sort of angelic light. Michael Longhurst, the director, made no effort to hide that it is a theatrical production, with the costumes visible on stage, and the vintage, operatic style, backdrops.

 

Overall a very modern look, on a classic story. Showing a rollercoaster of human emotion and human life. The madness of genius.