Feature | Favourite Theatre Moments of 2019

Image result for my favourite things julie andrews

by Laura Kressly

Determining a Top 10 has become increasingly troublesome what with the amount of work reviewed by guest critics and the even larger amount that we get invited to but aren’t able to see. So, rather than a more traditional ‘best-of’ list, here’s a totally subjective list of a few of my favourite things – in no particular order – from theatre and performance in 2019.

All the womxn-womxn couples holding hands as they watched Juniper and Jules, a play about two women who fall in and out of love at VAULT Festival

Amelia Vitale in everything she does, but her performance in War of the Worlds showed her versatility and range

Erin Doherty and Sophie Melville in Wolfie as a pair of separated twins is the double-act to beat all double acts

The use of post-dramatic storytelling and music to plot an epic battle between science and religion in Kandinsky’s Dinomania

The austere set and surprising lighting changes in Equus complementing the characters’ journeys

The shifting landscape of boxes and furniture that reflects how an unconventional friendship grows and changes in Violet at VAULT Festival

The moment Katie Greenall in Fatty Fat Fat admits that as much as she tries to celebrate her body, it’s still a struggle to actually do it

Emma Dennis-Edwards’ detailed characterisation of Angelique, a young woman in care who wants to open her own flower shop one day, reminds privileged adults vulnerable young people need support and nurturing to succeed 
in Funeral Flowers

The songs in new, boutique musical Operation Mincemeat are so clever, witty and catchy they had me humming for weeks

The interactive, game show dramaturgy of Exceptional Promise is loads of fun and hugely relatable

Sarah Kosar’s nuanced look at American gun culture in Armadillo is necessary commentary on an issue that British people rarely understand

The glorious mash-up that was the costume design in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe

The Paine’s Plough Roundabout’s programme at the Edinburgh Fringe is pretty much a perfect collection of plays on life in Britain today

Chiaroscuro’s gig-theatre dramaturgy and centering of Black women’s experiences in London that was hugely progressive for its time

Mephisto [A Rhapsody]’s unapologetic demand for state-subsidised theatre to consider its politics

The visceral act of digging into the earth under Ovalhouse and all the metaphors it exposes in Emma Frankland’s We Dig

Raki Ayola’s performance that oozed a resigned sadness in the dystopian On Bear Ridge

I wound down the year with a big deadline and only a few shows, but most of them were excellent. In particular, I Wanna Be Yours and A Kind of People were both smart, considered and sticky depictions of race and class in contemporary London.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

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