‘Tis the season to expostulate on the subject on one’s favourite plays of the year.
For me there weren’t a huge number of stand outs in 2010, but that’s not because it wasn’t a good year. In any given year, in fact in any given decade, there are only a few plays that really stick out in my memory. I am increasingly finding theatre tiresome – so often uninspiring, formulaic, over-rated or boring. But ’twas always such. I envy those who can see good in everything they see, but that’s just not me. For me, the great wealth of uninteresting, average theatre I see is justified by a few gems. A few gems which, without ever making an argument, make their own argument for the theatre being the most exciting art form, bar none, in the world today or ever.
So what did it for me this year? As always, relatively little:
Earthquakes in London got a bit of a “meh” from critics and bloggers alike, most of whom found it a bit long, preachy and unrealistic. For me, it was the stand out experience of the year. I saw an early preview and from the moment it started I felt like I was witnessing something incredible. I loved the boldness of it: of Mike Bartlett’s sprawling script, of Rupert Goold’s free-flowing direction, of the unapologetic integration of music and drama, of the National’s completely reconfigured Cottesloe. I’m proud to have seen this, will never forget it and – regardless of what the critics or my fellow bloggers made of it – for me this was the play that justified my year’s theatregoing.
Clybourne Park was hilarious. Intelligent, funny, shocking and perfectly acted. It has earned the highest award Sans Taste has, a “must see” recommendation for its run at the Wyndhams in 2011 (although sadly lacking the superb Martin Freeman).
And a few runners up:
The White Guard was technically brilliant, but all felt a bit too big to be truly loveable.
Dunsinane wasn’t a big one for me at the time, but it’s one that I’ve thought about a lot since. At its centre sits a superbly conceived allegory, let down by the need to find a plot and a love interest. An inspiring, interesting near miss.
Faust won’t be quickly forgotten.
And that’s about it. On to 2011.
FYI: No Good week / Bad week this Friday. Come on, it’s Christmas! Let’s just hope nothing happens, ok?
Merry Christmas all.