Top Ten Theatre 2018:
It was almost impossible to fit in just ten of our favourite shows from 2018. We tried Top Eleven/Twelve and even Fifteen Theatre Shows, but it just didn’t have the same ring as Ten.
We were sad to leave out brilliant shows including Jersey Boys, La Cenerentola, The Woman in Black, A Monster Calls, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and The Borrowers. But, here’s some of the ones we enjoyed the most in 2018…
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Apollo Theatre
Hands down this is now my all-time favourite musical. This show is based on the true story of Jamie Campbell and BBC3 documentary Drag Queen at 16. Jamie New wants to be a drag queen, not the fork lift truck driver the careers computer program suggested. In the process he ends up locking horns with school in his bid to wear a dress to the year 11 prom. So good we watched it four times in 2018:
Prom Kween The Wardrobe Theatre Bristol
This was brilliant. Prom Kween is perfectly described in the marketing as a story about ‘falling in love with who you are. Think Grease meets Drag Race meets a Trump rally with sequins.’ This fun and frenetic coming-of-age non-binary satire was exciting, funny, with pop culture references from the last twenty five years: http://www.aineflanagan.com/
A Christmas Carol Bristol Old Vic
An entertaining, moving and accessible production of A Christmas Carol at Bristol Old Vic. Felix Hayes is the miserable miser who finds redemption through three spooky and playful visitations: https://bristololdvic.org.uk/
Beautiful Thing Tobacco Factory Theatres
You could feel the summer heat and frazzled families on the council estate in this 90’s gay coming of age story. Expertly directed with lots of local heart in the form of a Bristol community choir.
The Elephant Man Bristol Old Vic
Bernard Pomerance’s play served as the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School’s end of year show. Disabled theatre practitioner Jamie Beddard was the Elephant Man, showing the years-behind theatre industry that it’s perfectly possible to create high-quality accessible to watch theatre without marginalising actors with disabilities.
The Play That Goes Wrong at The Bristol Hippodrome
I’m still chuckling at bits of this play months later, most notably the portrait of the father hanging over the fireplace. It must be exhausting ensuring this much well-timed chaos occurs at the right time in the right place each performance. When things go genuinely wrong in the show, does this cancel the ‘wrong’ out like a double negative?
Miss Saigon Bristol Hippodrome
I can’t remember if I saw this four or five times when the show came to the Bristol Hippodrome for a lengthy run earlier this year. I’d seen Miss Saigon in London a few times back in the 90s and was never really a big fan. This updated version was much more political, clearly showing the human cost of war.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert by BMCC at The Redgrave Theatre Bristol
Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. This fun and flamboyant production by Bristol Musical Comedy Club was so much fun I would have gone back again and again had it not been sold out:
Don Giovanni Welsh National Opera Bristol Hippodrome
Don Giovanni, let’s be honest, is a bit of an upper class Jeremy Kyle. This version was a suitable romp with Mozart’s bonkers ending and a beautiful Dalla sua pace from Benjamin Hulett as Don Ottavio.
Macbeth Tobacco Factory Theatres
It was 2018 that saw Tobacco Factory Theatres create the Factory Company. This was a resident ensemble that put on two shows, one of which was Macbeth, directed by Adele Thomas. The play was particularly memorable for Katy Stephens’ incredible performance as Lady Macbeth.