As Love London Love Culture approaches its fifth birthday, Emma Clarendon looks back at some of her favourite theatre productions from the last few years…
Young Frankenstein, Garrick Theatre (2017): based on his immensely funny film, this musical version of Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein more than delivered in terms of sheer hilarity. There was a great energy and chemistry from all of the cast, with Hadley Fraser able to put his own stamp on the role memorably created by Gene Wilder. Elsewhere in the cast, Ross Noble was thoroughly enjoyable as Igor and Lesley Joseph was clearly having a great time as Frau Blucher. It really was a cure a for the winter blues.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Noel Coward Theatre (2018): Violent yet hilarious, Michael Grandage’s production Martin McDonagh’s rarely revived play was a real highlight in the Summer of 2018. Filled with some brilliant lines (which still make me chuckle when I think about them) and a cast who really delivered great performances. The whole thing was directed with great precision by Michael Grandage, capturing the comedy with great flair.
The Son, Duke of York’s Theatre (2019): having missed it at the Kiln Theatre, this intense and heartbreaking piece of theatre was well worth catching – not least for Laurie Kynaston’s performance as Nicholas who is struggling to deal with his parents divorce. Powerful from start to finish and immensely memorable.
Romantics Anonymous, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2017): Emma Rice’s charming little musical captured audiences hearts back in 2017. Filled with relatable characters and French flair it was a real delicious treat to watch thanks to all its little quirks and warmth.
The Red Shoes, Sadler’s Wells (2019): Matthew Bourne’s unique and beautiful take on this classic story charmed audiences once again in its latest revival, exquisitely performed by the cast which included Cordelia Braithwaite as the central character Vicky, Adam Cooper as Boris and Dominic North as Julian. Simply stunning.
42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane (2018): I went to see this production on several occasions simply because this is how a musical is supposed to be. Filled with memorable songs and dazzling choreography it felt like a true celebration of the world of show business.
Fiddler on the Roof, Playhouse Theatre (2019): following its sold out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2018, Trevor Nunn’s gorgeous production of this classic musical was a real highlight on my musical theatre calendar. Each time I watched it – it never failed to stir the emotions.
The Wider Earth, Natural History Museum(2018) : there’s nothing like sneaking around a popular tourist attraction after hours – particularly when it is in aid of seeing a fascinating and imaginative take on that tells the story of Charles Darwin’s discoveries that he made during his five year voyage on the HMS Beagle in the 1830’s.
& Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre (2019): a fun filled and lively production featuring the songs of Max Martin and a new take on the story of Romeo and Juliet may not be to everyone’s tastes. However, because it is a show that doesn’t take itself seriously, it is hard not to be swept into this production that’s filled with plenty of attitude, friendship, rivalry and yes love.
The Kite Runner, Wyndham’s Theatre (2017): another powerful production that truly broke my heart while watching was this stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel. A story of betrayal and friendship, it was beautifully presented through Giles Croft’s production and stayed with me long after the curtain came down.
Blues in the Night, Kiln Theatre (2019): any opportunity to hear Sharon D.Clarke sing is not to be missed as this stunningly atmospheric production revealed. Entwining a number of blues songs, a variety of characters and their lives were explored through song in Sheldon Epps’s show that flowed with great style and pace.
An American in Paris, Dominion Theatre (2017): I’m still saddened that this classy musical didn’t last longer in the West End as everything about it was truly wonderful. The visual effects and the dancing (of course) were genuinely spectacular.
The Woman in White, Charing Cross Theatre (2017): filled with a haunting atmosphere and mesmerising vocals from the cast including Carolyn Maitland and Anna O’Byrne, Thom Southerland’s production is still one of the best productions I have seen in the theatre.
Killer Joe, Trafalgar Studios (2018): there has never been a show as effective as this in terms of tearing my nerves to shreds. Thanks to this production directed by Simon Evans I was so on the edge of my seat by the end I just about managed to cling on!
White Christmas, Dominion Theatre (2019): I love seeing a classic musical being brought to life and this wonderfully heartwarming and festive treat was a glorious one to sit in the audience for. Again, the choreography and vocals were a real treat, while the production itself managed to capture the spirit of the film.
The Watsons, Menier Chocolate Factory (2019): this clever take on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel was a sheer comical delight – which makes it heartbreaking that it isn’t now getting the West End transfer (at the time of writing) it deserves.