This week my little blog turned 5 years old! After starting in November 2014 to keep me busy and give myself an outlet for my endless waffly opinions on shows I saved up to see, it has grown into a reviewing site for several theatres in the South West.
Ironically since being on the press list I don’t always end up “watching from the cheap seats” but am still devoted to giving my humble and honest opinion on whatever I may be watching that week.
To celebrate me not deleting my blog and flinging my laptop out of the window in pure frustration when I can’t find the words, I have decided to write a post which (believe it or not) has actually been requested multiple times!
People are always asking me what my favourite shows are and to be honest it’s quite scary to give a definitive answer… it’s like choosing your favourite child!
I tried to do a top 10 and failed miserably, so here, in a rough order, are my 13 favourite shows I have ever seen.
Hamilton is like nothing I have ever seen. Lin Manuel Miranda is an absolute genius and has created an incredible piece of art which in my opinion is worth every penny of the ticket price. The story deserves to be told and Miranda has done it such justice by telling it in such a powerful and beautiful way. You fall in love, loathe others, want to dance with some and argue with others. The music is the star of the show and since seeing the show about a year ago I can safely say I know all the words to almost the entire soundtrack. I can’t express the magnitude of brilliance that this show is and will be for years to come. Believe the hype and splash out on the ticket, it could not be more real.
2. Blood Brothers
Oh this show… I can remember leaving the theatre in silence, unable to say a word, got into the car to go home and immediately burst into tears. AND I’M NOT A CRIER! It is the most encapsulating, moving and beautiful story and will absolutely tear you to pieces.
The combination of Willy Russell’s words and music combined with Bill Kenwright’s production is astounding. I simply do not have a bad thing to say about the show. It’s hilarious, tragic and just amazing.
3. Billy Elliot
If you think the film is good then you ain’t seen nothing yet! Despite having been running for over 10 years, the show never feels stale. Light and action burst out the seams of this production and it is immensely enjoyable to watch unfold. Cannot recommend this enough.
4. The Play That Goes Wrong
When anyone asks me what they should take someone to see if they have never been to the theatre then I always reply with this. The Play That Goes Wrong is clever, witty, daft and the funniest thing I have EVER seen. Mischief Theatre have since produced similar plays which have not disappointed. If you need a giggle then this is it.
5 & 6. Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet
Okay so this section should really be anything by the legend that is Matthew Bourne but I’ve narrowed it down to my two most favourite of his. Both incredible interpretations of such iconic classics that are well known and loved; Bourne had his work cut out.
His 1995 Swan Lake was revolutionary in the world of ballet as he swapped males into the roles of the elegant bird to highlight their strength and power instead of having dainty girls to portray the gracefulness.
His latest creation, Romeo and Juliet is set in an asylum. As one of the most reinvented plays ever he managed to angle the age-old story to fit such a progressive setting. It’s a brilliant example of his pure genius.
This is another production that I would recommend to absolutely everyone! Tim Minchin’s songs are ridiculously catchy and the child stars will leave you with your chin on the floor. An outstanding production that entertains all.
8. Miss Saigon
You may already be able to tell by the list but I love a gritty musical. Miss Saigon is the epitome of this. I saw this whilst it was on tour in Manchester and it blew me away. Vietnam War. Ultimate love story. Bonkers set. Killer soundtrack. Perfection!
A play that ran for a short time in the West End, not long enough in my eyes. I made the trip all the way to London because the hype was so mental, and I’m so glad I did. The most empowering show about the mystery woman in Shakespeare’s life. I would pay good money for this hilarious, uplifting and brilliant production to return to the stage.
10. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
I first saw this drag inspired show with the original cast starring John McCrea and am already planning to see Layton Williams as Jamie. This modern musical features some of my favourite musical theatre songs such as And You Don’t Even Know It and Out of the Darkness. It is also by far one of the funniest musicals I have come across.
11. La Cage Aux Folles
Another drag related show here. If you want to see some of the most realistic drag then snap up tickets to this. I adored John Partridge when he starred in this but with a story and soundtrack so strong this will always be a favourite of mine.
One of the more recent additions to the list. A modern musical about one of my favourite historical eras, the sixteenth century. Although this time round the focus is on the six infamous wives rather than the man himself Henry VIII. The team of six spend the show singing to show that they had the hardest life.
13. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
I’m aware that the majority of shows on this list are musicals so thought I’d throw in a straight play as well. This eye opening play follows the story of a 15 year old with Asperger’s in his attempts to discover who killed his neighbours dog. A visually powerful show with an equally powerful message.