Friday 27 December 2013

My Diamond Dozen - The Best of 2013

The Baz's Diamond Dozen 

My 12 most memorable theatrical moments of 2013, in alphabetical order:

A Class Act starring John Barr
Landor Theatre, London
Dir. Robert McWhir

John Barr broke hearts in this glorious, gut-wrenching snapshot of the life of Ed Kleban, lyricist of A Chorus Line

Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter In Conversation: NT at 50
National Theatre, London

Two legends of Richard Eyre's iconic Guys and Dolls production from 1982, talked about their time at the NT

Little Shop of Horrors
Kings Arms, Manchester
Dir. James Baker

A rare example of cracking fringe theatre to be found outside the usual stamping grounds of London and Edinburgh

Macbeth starring Kenneth Branagh
Manchester International Festival
Dir. Kenneth Branagh & Rob Ashford

Possibly the best Shakespeare staged in recent years. Sublime performances in the most innovative of settings imaginable.

Piaf starring Frances Ruffelle
Curve, Leicester
Dir. Paul Kerryson

8 times a week, Frances Ruffelle literally became Edith Piaf, telling the singer's story from the gutter to world fame, to broken-ness and death.

Music Box Theatre, New York
Dir. Diane Paulus

A jaw-dropping spectacle of stagecraft. Visuals and vocals with no gimmickry, just excellence throughout.

Richard II starring David Tennant
RSC Stratford upon Avon
Dir. Greg Doran

Tennant and Doran grasp this most political of tales, giving a classic chapter of English history a sparkling contemporary relevance.

Scott Alan in Concert
O2, London

An evening of revelatory and powerful musical theatre, performed by a stellar gathering, that included Cynthia Erivo......

The Color Purple starring Cynthia Erivo
Menier Chocolate Factory, London
Dir. John Doyle

Bringing this Broadway hit to London, Doyle extracted performances from his cast, Erivo in particular, that breathed life into this harrowing yet ultimately uplifting story.

The Scottsboro Boys
Young Vic Theatre, London
Dir. Susan Stroman

Another acclaimed Broadway work, Stroman gave London yet more harrowing theatre in Kander & Ebb's final collaboration, based upon a tragic miscarriage of justice in the American South.

Titus Andronicus
RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon
Dir. Michael Fentiman

With a decent budget, fabulous creatives and a talented company, Fentiman skilfully extracted the politics, irony and dark humour of this most violent of Shakespeare's plays.

West Side Story
NYMT at the Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
Dir. Nikolai Foster

With choreographer Drew McOnie and MD Tom Deering, Foster breathed life into the Bernstein/Sondheim classic using only an empty warehouse, steel containers and a company of astonishingly talented young people.

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