Okay, okay, it’s a bit late, and last year’s viewings were more about quality than quantity, as personal circumstances meant me totting up only about a third of the usual amount of shows. Still, at least I chose wisely; but instead of an epic end of year review I’m keeping it short and sweet this time – here are my top five productions of 2015.
The Producers: Big, bold and absolutely bonkers, this year’s touring production of The Producers, with Jason Manford, Ross Noble, David Bedella and Cory English was a pitch-perfect hoot at the Empire in June. Verdict: “Doesn’t so much overstep the mark as plow over it in a Panzer.”
That’s Amore: Tmesis Theatre’s examination of modern love and romance was cute, funny and an absolute joy. The cast of four’s physicality, wit and chemistry came together for a show with a real feelgood factor. It returned to the Unity back in October. MADEUP said: “Every moment of That’s Amore was something to savour.”
The Wonderful World of Dissocia: A real high point for YEP in the Playhouse Studio this November, this production of Anthony Neilson’s surreal allegorical fantasy successfully transported bystanders into a vivid and unsettling dream world. A powerful, creative and passionate piece of theatre that (I said at the time) “fizzes and sings with a vibrancy and anarchy that practically hijacks its unsuspecting audience”.
Panti Bliss: I knew of Panti Bliss, but wasn’t sure what to expect from her solo show High Heels in Low Places at the Epstein in November. A warm, funny storyteller, the show was an evening of extraordinary tales from an irresistible entertainer (and she was bloody lovely enough to do an interview with MADEUP beforehand). I’m in love.
Kazablanca: The last thing I caught last year in early December, with our friends in Impropriety saying their goodbye to their alma mater venue the Kazimier as only they could. Cramming all the fun of an improvathon into one final night, their off-the-cuff show was, like all their best work, hilarious, unforgettable and unexpectedly touching. The end of an era.