The ten best London theatre shows of 2021

by Assessor
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Grim as our present scenario could also be, London theatre has undoubtedly had a much better 2021 than 2020, so let’s have a good time that eh? Listed below are my prime reveals of a superb yr for theatre, towards the percentages. It sadly goes with out saying that reveals listed as nonetheless on include the heavy caveat that they may at present be suspended.

Cabaret at Playhouse Theatre
{Photograph}: Marc Brenner

10. Cabaret

Okay, for my cash it doesn’t fairly reside as much as the hype, largely as a result of Eddie Redmayne’s flip because the Emcee is so overcooked as to be borderline inedible. However Jessie Buckley is totally magnificent as tragic Berlin nightclub singer Sally Bowles in Rebecca Frecknall’s manufacturing. She’s a world away from the horny archness of the character in latest revivals of the Kander & Ebb basic: as an alternative she was lethal earnest and lethally intense, her voice off-key however her rock-star charisma sufficient to gentle up the entire Equipment Kat Membership.Equipment Kat Membership on the Playhouse Theatre. Reserving till Oct 1 2022.

See more: Top west end musicals 2021

The Tragedy of Macbeth, Almeida, 2021
Picture by Marc BrennerJames McArdle and Saoirse Ronan

9. Macbeth

Transfer over Eddie: Saoirse Ronan’s UK stage debut was the massive superstar theatre information of ’21, even attracting an unmasked Boris Johnson into the viewers one evening final month. She gave a positive efficiency as a largely first rate – nicely, other than the regicide-y stuff – Girl M to James McArdle’s more and more batshit antihero. Actually the star was director Yaël Farber, whose usually apocalyptic fashion actually suited The Scottish Play, in an ingenious, revisionist, and actually nerve-jarring manufacturing. Almeida Theatre. Now closed.

and breathe…, Almeida, 2021
Picture by AlmeidaDavid Jonsson (Junior)

8. And Breathe…

The Almeida pulled some fairly particular stuff out of the hat this yr, and in lots of respects none extra so than its socially distanced season opener. ‘And Breathe…’ was a beautiful stage adaptation of Yomi Sode’s poetry assortment ‘Manorism’ that mixed cutting-edge video projection, an exceptional reside rating and a superbly measured efficiency from David Jonsson as a younger Black father coping with horrible grief.Almeida Theatre. Now closed.

little scratch, Hampstead Theatre, 2021
Picture by Robert Day

7. Little Scratch

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Legendary director Katie Mitchell quietly returned to the UK stage and Katie Mitchell-ed the hell out of Rebecca Watson’s notionally unstageable stream-of-consciousness novel a couple of lady going about her day whereas unable to keep away from dwelling upon her latest rape. Harrowing and hilarious, it was organized for the voices of 4 actors and sang with its personal peculiar music.Hampstead Theatre. Now closed.

Anything Goes, Barbican, 2021
Picture by Tristram Kenton

6. Something Goes

‘Something Goes’ is a frothy load of previous nonsense blessed with a smattering of basic songs, however this supersized revival on the Barbican was notable for Broadway star Sutton Foster’s actually jaw-dropping trip-threat efficiency as nightclub singer Reno Sweeney. At a time when Covid restrictions have been simply ending (sigh) her chic efficiency and the present’s excessive good vibes gave the recovering theatre sector the feelgood hit our summer season wanted.Barbican Centre. Returns Jul 15-Sep 3 2022.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Duke of York’s Theatre, 2021
{Photograph}: Manuel Harlan

5. The Ocean on the Finish of the Lane

The Nationwide Theatre’s Neil Gaiman adaptation performed a Christmas season on the Dorfman in 2019, however its long-delayed West Finish switch is one thing else: larger, deeper, wilder and extra stunning. This haunting story of a person who seemingly forgot a childhood by which he and his unusual pal Lettie battled unimaginable forces of evil is an actual stunner, and fairly not like the rest within the West Finish.Duke of York’s Theatre. Till Could 14 2022.

Spring Awakening, Almeida Theatre, 2021
Picture by Marc Brenner

4. Spring Awakening

For no matter cause, British audiences have been left largely nonplussed by by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s good musical when it made its UK debut in 2009: it shut within the West Finish after a few months, paltry subsequent to its three years on Broadway. Effectively, now right here’s a second likelihood (or the chance to fuck it up once more): Rupert Goold’s revival is exquisitely atmospheric, tender and witty, with an outstanding younger ensemble. Greater than the rest, it stresses what a spectacularly good musical ‘Spring Awakening’ is.Almeida Theatre. Till Jan 22 2022.

Carousel, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, 2021
Picture by Johan PerssonDeclan Bennett (Billy)

3. Carousel

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This new tackle Rodgers & Hammerstein’s previous warhorse was completely thrilling and conceptually good, blasting away the layers of chintz that ‘Carousel’ had acquired over the a long time. It fully ditched all of the cutesy Americana, completely rewrote the rating, and really a lot refused to shrink back from addressing the home violence on the story’s coronary heart. In doing so it preserved all the pieces that was good about ‘Carousel’ whereas actually understanding – and certainly, elevating – its sense of hazard. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Now closed.

Best of Enemies, Young Vic, 2021
Picture by Wasi DanijuDavid Harewood and Charles Edwards

2. Better of Enemies

Playwright James Graham demonstrated his complete mastery of political theatre as a type with this wild, gripping, surprising dramatisation of the 1968 TV debates between US mental William F Buckley Jr and Gore Vidal that went method past the dry premise that may counsel. ‘Better of Enemies’ is an impassioned tribute to the screaming chaos of America’s wild ’60s, with titanic performances from David Harewood and Charles Edwards.Younger Vic. Till Jan 22 2022.

After Life, National Theatre, 2021
Picture by Johan PerssonAnoushka Lucas

1. After Life

The Nationwide Theatre’s first present again in 2021 was additionally my present of the yr. Jack Thorne’s adaption of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s cult 1998 movie was an achingly stunning work of magical realism set in a ramshackle method station between life and demise, the place a collection of broken oddballs tried to resolve what one reminiscence they every needed to take with them into eternity. Regardless of being shut till the brand new yr by the Omicron surge, the NT has had a powerful yr, staging some dozen reveals through the eight months of 2021 it opened. Let’s hope there’s a lot extra subsequent yr.Nationwide Theatre, Dorfman. Now closed.

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