The theatrical 2014 – A look back

23 Dec

Seriously, how fast has this year come and gone? Feels like yesterday that I was planning my first theatre trips of 2014.

On the theatrical side 2014 has been a true rollercoaster. First there were two major cast changes and in one case even a theatre change. The Original London Cast of Once played their last performance on 8th March 2013. It has been such a joy to watch these brilliant guys and girls on stage at the Phoenix for a year. And even though Once remains truly wonderful the show lost something very special on that Saturday in March.

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Just a day later it was the end of an era. Ryan Molloy played his final performance as Frankie Valli in the London production of Jersey Boys. It also marked the end of Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre and the end of my time as a regular at the show. What an emotional weekend and something I feel privileged to have been a small part of.

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A Musical highlight of the year has to be In the Heights at Southwark Playhouse. I remember watching the show on Broadway back in 2009 and thinking it was an ok but not outstanding musical. That completely changed when I saw the Southwark Playhouse production. I was in awe from start to finish. One of the best fringe productions I have seen in my life.

On the straight play side the excellent production of Of Mice and Men at the Birmingham Repertoire Theatre deserves a mention especially because I sadly didn’t get round to writing a review. I generally adore this play and it was a delight to see such a wonderful version of it.

The annual West End Live event once again had its place in my theatre diary in June. Representing Musical Theatre Review I was a photographer for the weekend with the opportunity to witness various performances up close. Take a look at some of the pictures I took here.

A through and through life-changing experience (in terms of my theatre life) occurred in early March. I attended Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man at Temple Studios. It took me about 3 weeks to come to terms with what I had witnessed but from that moment on I was hooked. This was my first immersive theatre performance and it was both exciting and scary. Being inside Temple Studios felt like being in a different world. I was late to the party (The Drowned Man had been running since summer 2013) but this show literally opened a new theatrical world for me. From March to July all other shows had to take a step back. It was about The Drowned Man during those months. And yes, I still miss Temple Studios.

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In September I was lucky enough to fly over to New York and see Ryan Molloy reprise the role of Frankie Valli, this time in the Broadway production of Jersey Boys. A huge thank you to Ryan at this point for being all around brilliant and for making me feel so welcome. I even got to stand on a Broadway stage (I had to mention this, a very special moment).

And what else beside Jersey Boys could I watch in New York but Punchdrunk’s Sleep no more at the McKittrick Hotel. I adored the show and urge all of you to go check it out if you get the chance. I’m flying back to the Big Apple in January for several more hours inside the McKittrick Hotel and can hardly contain my excitement.

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The last London theatre highlight of the year turned out to be Here Lies Love at the National Theatre – one of the most upbeat shows of the year that just pulls you in. I highly recommend you go and see it if you can get a ticket for the rest of the run.

It really has been an exciting theatrical year and I am happy and thankful I got to spend so much time doing what I love: Watch and experience shows. It’s been a joy to support so many talented performer – some of which I have known for years. A special thanks goes out to all the wonderful Punchdrunk performers for making 2014 so absolutely unique – neither The Drowned Man nor Sleep no more would have been even half as amazing without all those talented people.

Well, that’s it for 2014 I guess. I have no more theatre trips planned during the last few days of the year but the theatrical 2015 is shaping up nicely already.

I would like to thank all performers who have given up their free time to take part in my blog Q&As, everyone who has contributed to this blog in any way and, of course, all of you who have been reading my theatre ramblings throughout the year. I really appreciate the comments, likes and shares – thank you!

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year. X

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