During 2015, London Theatre 1’s team of reviewers were busy reviewing more than 800 productions in and around London. Here is a list of the top London shows as selected by some of our busiest reviewers.
CHRIS OMAWENG – Top 10
- In The Heights, King’s Cross Theatre. “..exuberant, flowing and dynamic… an astonishing achievement: if this is the future of musical theatre, then it’s an exciting time to be alive to experience it.”
- Avenue Q, Churchill Theatre Bromley. “It was pleasing to look around and see an audience from all walks of life, and it is to this show’s credit that it attracts such a broad following.”
- Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre. “A show with drive, passion and sole: go see, and prepare to fall head over heels.”
- Hetty Feather, Duke of York’s Theatre. “It’s not too melodramatic or overbearing, and the sequence is surprisingly believable… it’s the grown-ups in the audience who openly gasp at the twists and turns in the plot”
- We Just Keep Going, Hen and Chickens Theatre. “This is laugh-out-loud funny, and for a debut play, it’s a roaring success: the writer has an extremely bright future ahead…”
- Hangmen, Royal Court. “A strong play, absorbing from start to finish… its comical approach is both insightful and vividly witty.”
- Aladdin, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. “The choreography is sublime and flawless throughout… a Rolls-Royce of a pantomime.”
- The Wars of the Roses, Rose Theatre Kingston. “… a shining demonstration of British theatre at its most refined… this box set of shows is a truly remarkable achievement.”
- The Devil is an Ass, Rose Theatre Bankside. “…a determined and successful attempt at making a 399-year-old play interesting and humorous to a modern audience…”
- Showstoppers! The Improvised Musical, Apollo Theatre. “… remarkable… the bigger the audience, the greater the range of suggestions, and the wider the amount of material to work from.”
TERRY EASTHAM – Top 10
- Gypsy, Savoy Theatre – A wonderful and timeless story which was beautifully staged and made a true West End star of the awesome Imelda Staunton.
- The Car Man, New Wimbledon Theatre – One of Matthew Bourne’s superbly choreographed pieces with the unforgettable music of Bizet
- As Is, Trafalgar Studios – A darkly comic play that tackled a very sensitive subject in a compassionate and thought provoking way.
- Side By Side By Sondheim, Brockley Jack – a fantastic celebration of the master of musical theatre’s work.
- Billy Elliot, Victoria Palace – a great musical telling the story of the 1984 Miners Strike thats still going strong after all these years.
- F*cking Men, King’s Head Theatre – A blunt and highly realistic depiction of the lives and loves of a group of gay men.
- Carrie, Southwark Playhouse – Turning a horror story into a musical this production really delivered a punch.
- Richard II, St Bartholomew The Great – A fantastic telling of Shakespeare’s tale of the doomed king in a most amazing setting
- One for My Baby, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama – a pre-Edinburgh try-out for some newly graduated students that really delivered a lovely show.
- Generation Z Apocalypse, Dept W, 69-89 Mile End Road – not so much a play as a pretty terrifying immersive experience.
ALAN FITTER – Top Shows
- Gypsy, Stunning 5* production and Imelda Staunton will win every award going.
- Goodnight Mr Tom, Moving adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s book.
- Wicked, A superb night in the theatre – it hasn’t been running since 2006 by accident.
MARY NGUYEN – Top Shows
McQueen, St James Theatre – Writer James Phillips and director John Caird introduced a genius play about the British fashion icon McQueen, first shown at the St James Theatre. The play was so successful that the production was extended and moved to the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
- A View from the Bridge, Wyndham’s Theatre – Ivo Van Hove’s highly dramatic and gripping production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge stunned audiences with its intelligent staging and outstanding cast, including TV and film actor Mark Strong.
- Oresteia, The Almeida – Robert Icke’s chilling and jaw-dropping production of Aeschylus’s 2,500-year-old play, Oresteia kicked start the Greek series at the Almeida during 2015 with tremendous performances from its talented cast including Lia Williams and Angus Wright.
PETER YATES – Top Shows
- Sunny Afternoon, Harold Pinter Theatre – The very best of Juke Box Musicals.
- Beauty and the Beast, Polka Theatre – Wimbledon. Magical family entertainment for Christmas.
- United We Stand, CLF Theatre – Peckham. Ricky Tomlinson wakes up. Politically.
- Special Mention: The Homecoming Trafalgar Studios. Superb revival of a masterpiece.
LIZ DYER – Top shows
- Skin in Flames (StoneCrab Theatre Company, Park Theatre)
An incredibly tense and thought-provoking drama about a photojournalist who returns to the war-torn country that made him famous.
- Beans on Toast (Patch of Blue, New Wimbledon Studio)
Patch of Blue’s simple and brilliantly human story of a couple’s relationship, complete with lamplight and folk music, made me laugh and cry.
- Consolation (Théâtre Volière, Bridewell Theatre)
Two troubled souls find consolation in an unlikely friendship, in a funny and moving story that spans eight centuries.
BEN SASSOON – Top 5
- Assassins, Menier Chocolate Factory: “a superb production directed by Jamie Lloyd, enhanced by the intimate venue of the Menier makes this my favorite production of 2015. Sondheim’s classic music and lyrics remain as incredible as they first were in 1990“
- Gypsy, Savoy Theatre: “Imelda Staunton’s powerful voice and acting makes this stellar production stand out“
- The Play That Goes Wrong, Duchess Theatre: “beyond hilarious, this comedy left me unable to breath due to laughter“
- In the Heights, Kings Cross Theatre: “Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius music and lyrics work really well in this small space, and the cast are fantastic“
- The Audience, Apollo Theatre: “Kristen Scott Thomas did a beautiful performance as the Queen that left even the most anti-royalist audience member engaged”