All the theatre I saw in 2016, ranked

(nb: most of this was written on the train on New Year’s Eve, so “last night” = Dec 30th.)

In 2016 I saw 41 plays (and three staged readings, which were interesting but it feels unfair to put in with the rest because they’re not supposed to be fully realised pieces of theatre). Drunk Theatre stalwart Louisa and I tried to clear out the bottle-ends in the booze cabinet before the New Year, and carried out the immense task of force-ranking all our 2016 plays with Post-It notes. (for the record if you are also looking to clear out your drinks bottles, the “Monkey Gland”, a 1920s? cocktail involving grenadine and absinthe, was surprisingly all right.)

Bottom to top:

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“Hedda Gabler”, the National Theatre

Oh IVO, it was all going so well.

I’m always up for a Hedda Gabler, it’s just such a fun and well put together play. “Didn’t they just do one?” a coworker said when I mentioned it. “At the Old Vic? Sheridan Smith?” Yes they did and it was great so shut up. This one at the National Theatre stars Ruth Wilson (off the TV apparently, I haven’t seen her shows but she was great and sharp as Hedda) and is directed by Ivo van Hove, the so-hot-right-now avant-garde director who’s been packing out all the London theatres: the National, the Young Vic, the Barbican, even sharing the big box out the back of King’s Cross with the Donmar. As far as I can tell from production photos and reviews, this Hedda is a straight revival of his 2004 production at the New York Theatre Workshop – the same set and staging, down to the placement of the piano, and the same ‘shock moments’ (of which more later).

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Drunk Theatre Week: “Edward II” at the National Theatre

This week I am trying out a theme, and that theme is "plays I have seen when I, the performers, and/or both have been totally blotto". First up: Edward II, Marlowe's "gay king tragedy"! And gosh it was good (what I saw of it anyway, as was drunkenly twenty minutes late). I suspect the FT is right and this Edward II is a 'Marmite' production, but unlike Marmite people who don't like it are dead wrong. Other Baron, we'll miss you most of all.

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“Othello” at the National Theatre

My first draft of a post about the National Theatre's 'Othello' just read "ADRIAN LESTER" with big doodly hearts around it, so I apologise if this second try goes off the rails later. The play was REALLY GOOD.

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