Having seen over 300 shows in 2014 (between my team and I), narrowing it down to just ten is no easy task. However, I have painstakingly mulled it over and here are my personal favourites (in no particular order).
The Bakewell Bake Off
Kicking off 2014 was the Guilford School of Acting, student musical, The Bakewell Bake Off, which earned them not only a pass of their musical theatre course but also a run at the Landor Theatre following the success of the show. I loved it and often listen to the CD.
Dirty rotten Scoundrels
In March, the Savoy Theatre opened Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound. In its nine month run so far other stars such as Bonnie Langford, Gary Wilmot and Alex Gaumond have taken on roles in the show. This brilliant comedy musical is set to run until March 2015 when it will close to make way for Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will be conning its way around the UK on tour from May 2015.
Whip crack away whip crack away. Yeehaa and all that cowboy jazz. Calamity Jane has been horsing around the UK on tour with a group of brilliant actors who all play instruments live on stage. Jodie Prenger steals the show as Calamity Jane and this whole show was a treat to watch.
In my review for Memphis I said that if London is the theatre capital of the world the Memphis starring Beverley Knight and Killian Donnelly must be the best show in the world. These two powerhouse performers take an amazing show to a whole new level. If you haven’t see this then I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Into The Woods
The much anticipated Disney film of Into The Woods opens in cinemas around the world soon and earlier this year Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthomstow staged a new interpretation of the musical directed by Tim McArthur. This dark version of the show portrayed the wolf as a paedophile and Jack and his mum as some Jeremy Kyle chavs.
The winner of the Best Fringe Production at the first ever Wilma Awards this year was Urinetown at the St James Theatre and I couldn’t be more pleased that it transferred to the Apollo Theatre where it continues to play until early January. Brilliant in every way and a total must see before it closes.
Return of the Soldier
After this performance someone said to me ‘there wasn’t one memorable song in that whole show’. I beg to differ as I haven’t stopped humming them ever since. A brilliant musical with amazing casting including Laura Pitt-Pulford and Zoe Rainey.
I love Top Hat and was sad when it closed in the West End but was delighted to see it this year on tour. Brilliant songs, a great story and some of the best dancing you will ever see. A feel good 1920’s musical. They don’t make them like they used to!
Shakespeare In Love
It’s not very often you go to see a show and the whole world seems to disappear around you. For two and a half hours I was totally immersed in this magical play making it one of the greatest things I’ve seen this year.
My favourite. I couldn’t be happier to have it back in the West End. I was at the very first preview back in May have my seventh trip booked to go and see it in February. A brilliant show and a wonderful production with some of the best songs ever written. And a helicopter. Who doesn’t love a helicopter?
That’s my pick of the bunch from 2014. Exciting times ahead in 2015! I wonder what shows will be on my list next year?