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.
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