Tuesday, 12 December 2017

2017 Best Bits

Ok, I know the year isn't over yet but it's been a while since I've posted anything so I decided it was acceptable to do annual round up! 2017 has been another fantastic year of theatre for me so narrowing everything down has been quite difficult. I've picked out some of my favourite shows and theatre memories to share with you, while giving you a peak at what's to come in 2018. Enjoy!

The most significant part of my year has to be the five and a half weeks I spent living and working in Edinburgh during the Fringe. It gave me the opportunity to see a huge range of shows and I definitely learnt a lot and met some amazing people from the experience. You can read reviews of all the shows I saw under the Edinburgh label, but if I had to pick out a few significant performances I'd choose Half Breed, A Super Happy Story (About Being Super Sad) and Betty Grumble in Love and Anger (or Sex Clown Saves the World Again). I'm really hoping to go again this summer as I started to miss Edinburgh as soon as I came home!

Looking back, 2017 seems to have been the year of the play for me. I'd probably be wrong if I claimed that I'd seen more plays than musicals this year but almost all my favourite shows of the year have been plays. I saw a great couple of plays at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff: Killology and The Cherry Orchard, both of which were directed by Rachel O'Riordan and written/adapted by Gary Owen, and carried a lot of power and emotion in different ways. I also saw some great shows at Trafalgar Studios in London, including Apologia which was so much more than I expected and very enjoyable.

Choosing my favourite play of the year was surprisingly easy. Rotterdam at the Arts Theatre moved me in so many ways: I laughed a lot, I cried a lot and I found myself asking a lot of internal questions. More than anything, it inspired me. Some of you may have noticed that my blog has been taking a bit of a back seat lately, and I feel like this is a good time to explain. While I still enjoy reviewing, it's not what I want to do with my career so I'm not as driven to blog every show I see now. Rotterdam made me feel so many things at once and I realised that I don't just want to write about theatre, I want to make it. I want to look at a show that makes people feel things and say "I helped create that feeling". It was something I'd been thinking about for a while but it all came together during that one performance, which makes it feel even more special.

Now onto something more light-hearted - let's talk musicals! This year saw quite a few repeat offenders: I saw Les Mis for the fifth time, Sunny Afternoon for the third time, and I saw School of Rock twice, after discovering it in January and returning again in September. Recently I saw my first professional production of Legally Blonde at the New Theatre in Cardiff. I knew I loved the show from seeing an amateur production and having the soundtrack on repeat when I go to the gym but this production was so incredible, and was truly the most fun I've had at the theatre all year.

As you can see it's been a bit of a year for me, but I can say that 2018 is set to be just as good, if not better! I'm finally going to see some of my top musical soundtracks come to life on stage, in the first UK productions of Hamilton and Fun Home. I'm also booked in to see the incomparable Patti LuPone in the gender-swapped version of Company as well as finally seeing the much-loved Kinky Boots on it's first UK tour at my very own Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, and hopefully much much more. I can't wait!


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