When I look back on 2018, it will be my theatre going experiences that I look back on most fondly. I’ve been fortunate enough to see musicals in Stuttgart, on Broadway and in the West End. This lists attempts to rank which shows stood out and connected with me the most when I saw them. Going into these shows at first, I wouldn’t have expected my top five to be in this order – but here it is – my countdown to my top five theatre experiences in 2018.
After waiting for 15 months to see this show, I finally saw it on 29th March 2018. Having to wait that long definitely meant I had developed high expectations. It did not disappoint, but it wasn’t quite the earth-shifting experience I thought it would be. I still loved it and listen to the Original Broadway Cast Recording regularly, but compared to my other experiences, Hamilton just about scraped its way into the top five.
Once on this Island was the main reason I travelled to New York fairly spontaneously in October of this year. After hearing rumours that the show would close, I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t see the revival production. I managed to see it just in time, as it’s now announced its closing date for January 2019. The show was all that I hoped it would be. Although I was familiar with the story and the songs, under the inventive direction of Michael Arden, it felt new and exciting. Alex Newell is a force of nature and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
- Company, Gielgud Theatre – West End
Marianne Elliot, who helmed the 2018 revival of Company, is such an intelligent director. When I first heard this production would switch the genders of some of the characters, I was quite sceptical about whether this would be necessary. However, I was proved wrong. I was amazed by how relevant and contemporary a show, that’s nearly half a century years old, could feel after just a few tweaks. It was wonderful to hear the Stephen Sondheim score live and I’ve already booked my tickets to see the show again in 2019.
The Band’s Visit was the unexpected surprise of 2018. I went in not knowing anything about the plot. I only knew that it had won big at the 2018 Tony Awards, outshining other new entries such as Mean Girls, Spongebob Square Pants and Frozen. As I mentioned in my review, I loved the score by David Yazbeck and I didn’t know that such gorgeous music is still being composed and being performed live these days. ‘Answer Me’ has become a favourite song of mine and I’d love to see this production transfer to the West End.
When I went in to see Heathers, I did not expect to love it as much as I did. I had had a relatively bad day at work, and perhaps on another day I wouldn’t have connected with it as much. In any case, I realised that Heathers was closing the week I saw it and so bought a pricey ticket in Royal Circle. To put it simply, I was blown away. Carrie Hope Fletcher as Veronica was outstanding and Jamie Muscato as JD was sensational. The main reason I enjoy watching musicals is because at their best they allow you to escape and live in a completely different world – and that’s exactly what Heathers did for me. I loved every second of it and by the finale I didn’t want it to end. I’ve heard rumours that the show may return for an open run and lets hope it does.
Thanks for reading 🙂 What were your favourite theatre-going experiences in 2018? Let me know in the comments below!