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.)

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Photo (C) Simon Annand

Globe to Globe: The Winter’s Tale in Yoruba (Nigeria)

Renegade’s production of The Winter’s Tale was very dramaturgically playful, my favourite way to do Shakespeare. It opened intensely in media res, with Antigonus (I think Adisa Moruf Adeyimi, although he’s just credited as “Sicilian lord”) and baby Oluola (Perdita, Oluwatoyin Alli-Hakeem) on the coast of Bohemia.

He was chased and killed by robbers – not a bear – another example of Renegade’s unabashed willingness to rewrite the play but also a disappointing one, considering, you know, BEAR.

Perdita was found by the shepherds and the second act continued. The sheep-shearing was replaced by a hunting festival, which was an excuse for some tremendous dancing and some tall Dr. Seuss-style pillars with people inside that I don’t know what they were doing in there, but they were great. (This is absolutely me revealing my ignorance, for the record – I believe these have some cultural significance but I’ve got no idea what it is.) Read more...