Top Shows 2023

OUR TOP SHOWS OF 2023 - shown in random order

The Lord of the Rings

★★★★★

Watermill Theatre

THE LORD OF THE RINGS at the Watermill Theatre ★★★★★ “The nuances of the characters are beautifully executed, particularly up close on the small stage.”   ‘When Mr Bilbo Baggins announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk

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The Little Big Things

★★★★

Sohoplace

THE LITTLE BIG THINGS at @Sohoplace ★★★★ “The script may read like a Hallmark greetings card at times, but the show has all the hallmarks of a major hit.” Being challenged in life is inevitable, but being defeated is optional. So runs one of the tag lines for Henry Fraser’s

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Nutcracker

★★★★★

Tuff Nutt Jazz Club 

NUTCRACKER at the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club  ★★★★★ “McOnie’s clarity of vision and impeccable execution results in a production that is fun, fanciful, and doesn’t take itself too seriously” Entering the Tuff Nutt Jazz Club, squirrelled away underneath the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank, you can already tell you’re

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Tarantino Live

★★★★★

Riverside Studios

TARANTINO LIVE at the Riverside Studios ★★★★★ “From the prologue to the epilogue the atmosphere is quite electric.”   Most of us live in the real universe most of the time. For over thirty years now, Quentin Tarantino has led us intermittently into the ‘realer than real’ universe. There are

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Strike!

★★★★★

Southwark Playhouse

STRIKE! at the Southwark Playhouse ★★★★★ “There are more laughs than might be expected balanced with a poignancy that brought some of this audience close to tears”   Ardent Theatre Company presents the story, written by Tracy Ryan, of nine Irish shopgirls and one shop boy who after refusing to

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Bloody Elle

★★★★★

Soho Theatre

BLOODY ELLE at the Soho Theatre ★★★★★ “The audience are putty in her hand as Redding navigates along the highs and lows”   You should expect to leave Bloody Elle having fallen in love with ‘Elle’. Lauryn Redding, who wrote and stars, has created a superb one woman ‘gig musical’

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Henry I

★★★★★

Reading Abbey Ruins

HENRY I  at Reading Abbey Ruins ★★★★★ “a stand-out exemplar for other locally-rooted companies wishing to make drama that speaks compellingly to their audiences”   When Game of Thrones and other big budget spectaculars grab the headlines and audiences, how can 900 year old stories be brought to the stage

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A Woman Walks Into a Bank

★★★★★

Theatre503

A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK at Theatre503 ★★★★★ “there’s lots of laughs. In a doleful, what-can-you-expect-this-is-Russia kind of way” Roxy Cook’s A Woman Walks Into A Bank is a thoroughly delightful—yet pointed, in the way that Gogol’s Dead Souls is pointed—portrait of a corrupt and brutal society drunk on

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The Lehman Trilogy

★★★★★

Gillian Lynne Theatre

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY at the Gillian Lynne Theatre ★★★★★ “Relevant, gripping, foreboding and ultimately touching.”   “The Lehman Trilogy”, spanning over 150 years, is ostensibly an epic drama; an intricate portrayal of a dynasty following fortune and misfortune. Yet it is so much more. The sum of its parts adds

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The Tragedy of Macbeth

★★★★

Southwark Playhouse

THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH at Southwark Playhouse ★★★★ “It is a whirlwind, whirligig production.”   You wander into the space at Southwark Playhouse at your peril, like an outsider may unwittingly stray through the gates of Bedlam. Flabbergast Theatre’s take on ‘The Scottish Play’ eschews Jacobean pomp, placing us somewhere

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Gypsy

★★★★★

The Mill at Sonning

GYPSY at The Mill at Sonning ★★★★★ “Rebecca Thornhill is quite remarkable as Rose, establishing her personality as the pushy, determined, possessive matriarch”   Billed as ‘A Musical Fable’ (although the pedants among us would describe it as a parable), “Gypsy” camouflages its many moral messages in a sheer razzamatazz

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Flowers for Mrs Harris

★★★★

Riverside Studios

FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS at the Riverside Studios ★★★★ “Jenna Russell slips into the title role as though it was tailor made for her, giving a performance that is as strong as it appears unassuming” It takes its time, but the moment the curtain comes down on Mrs Harris you’ll

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The Merchant of Venice 1936

★★★★

Watford Palace Theatre

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 1936 at the Watford Palace Theatre ★★★★ “A vivid and moving interpretation. Disturbing, enriching and thought provoking”   Tracy-Ann Oberman’s Shylock stands centre stage at the opening of Brigid Larmour’s brave and provoking adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”; and from thereon she remains in

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About Bill

★★★★★

Theatre at the Tabard

ABOUT BILL at Theatre at the Tabard ★★★★★ “a deeply heartfelt piece of musical theatre” Sixty years is quite a time span to slot into a little over sixty minutes. It is quite an epic endeavour, especially in the intimate confines of an eighty-seat venue, but the decades are pinpointed

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Shakespeare’s R & J

★★★★

Reading Rep Theatre

SHAKESPEARE’S R & J at the Reading Rep Theatre ★★★★ “Elijah Ferreira gives a stunning performance as Romeo.” This intriguing show was written by American Director Joe Calarco in 1997. It translates Romeo and Juliet’s ‘star-crossed lovers’ into pupils who act out the play at a repressive Catholic boys boarding

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A Christmas Carol

★★★★★

The Old Vic

A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the The Old Vic ★★★★★ “The quality and theatricality of this production is unparalleled” Few pieces of literature have had such a profound impact on how we think of Christmas today as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Has the festive season truly begun unless you’ve read

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THE NET KILL

★★★★★

VAULT Festival 2023

THE NET KILL at the VAULT Festival ★★★★★ “kills with a witty script that manages to avoid clichés in unexpected and humorous ways”   The Incognito Theatre Company describe The Net Kill as a play about badminton — “the most pointless garden sport ever invented”. But it’s about much more

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