My Top Ten Theatre Shows of 2019

Having been living in Paris for the last two years, I haven’t seen anywhere near enough shows in London and have relied on my amazing reviewing team to cover the majority of productions for me. So don’t shout at me if I don’t list some of your favourites (I may just not have seen them). But between what I have seen around the world in London, Paris, New York, Edinburgh and even at sea, here are my highlights from the past twelve months.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (West End)
Quite a few people I know hated this production but I loved it. Sheridan Smith was a tour de force as the Narrator and breathed life and freshness into the role, dressing up as different characters and telling the story alongside the children. I can’t wait to see the show return to the London Palladium in 2020 to see how it compares. REVIEW: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (London Palladium) ★★★★★

Mamma Mia (West End)
An oldie but a goodie – Mamma Mia! is one of those shows that can really cure a hangover (and also cause one the following day as the drinks flow at this party show). The story is easy to follow and the show doesn’t take itself too seriously, bridging the fine line between musical and jukebox show. Everyone is there to hear the songs of ABBA and the show delivers everything you could wish for. The latest cast are one of the best I’ve seen and it’s hard to believe this show has been running more than twenty years. Here’s to twenty more! REVIEW: MAMMA MIA! (Novello Theatre) ★★★★★

Mary Poppins (West End)
I went along to see the return of Mary Poppins to the West End with low expectations (having seen it many years ago on broadway and thinking it was meh) but it was probably the show I have enjoyed the most in 2019. The songs, the set, the costumes, the cast – more than just practically perfect. REVIEW: MARY POPPINS (Prince Edward Theatre) ★★★★★

Girl From The North Country (West End)
As a fan of Bob Dylan’s music, I had high hopes for this. I wasn’t worried about hearing perhaps different versions of the songs to the ones on his albums because to be fair, he has been singing anything but the original tune to his music for many years now. But to hear Olivier Award winner Katie Brayben screaming out Like A Rolling Stone like a woman possessed is perhaps my favourite moment in musical theatre in 2019. REVIEW: Girl From The North Country (Gielgud Theatre) ★★★★★ 

Funny Girl (Paris)
Paris – my home for the past two years and as much as I love it, they don’t do theatre particularly well. Anything more than am-dram standards are perceived as high and so it was a joy to see Stephen Mear direct and choreograph a London cast in a brand new production of Funny Girl – starring musical comedy impressionist Christina Bianco. But this production has been a chance for her to show the world what she can do, earning rave reviews from London, Paris and New York critics alike, cementing her future as a musical theatre leading lady from now on. REVIEW: FUNNY GIRL (Théâtre Marigny, Paris) ★★★★★

Hadestown (Broadway)
Having missed this show at the National Theatre in London in 2018, I was glad to catch Hadestown on Broadway. The story intertwines the mythic tales of Orpheus and Eurydice, and King Hades and his wife Persephone, taking you on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors including Miss Saigon star Eva Noblezada, Hadestown is a haunting and hopeful theatrical experience that teaches you a thing or two about greek myths along the way. REVIEW: HADESTOWN (Walter Kerr Theatre) ★★★★★

Beetlejuice (Broadway)
Another show I wasn’t particularly excited about seeing this year but blew me away from the second it started was Beetlejuice. So much fun with an amazing cast including Alex Brightman and Sophia Ann Curaco – I loved every second of it and it was the best show I saw on my recent trip to Broadway. I really hope we see this coming to London in 2020. REVIEW: BEETLEJUICE (Winter Garden Theatre) ★★★★★

Stages (Floating Festival at Sea)
I’d never wanted to go on a cruise before – I hate the sea and get very sea sick. But the idea of a musical theatre festival on a boat was too much of an exciting idea that I had to go check it out. And this year I went back for the second year which was even better. Alfie Boe, Sheridan Smith, Collabro, Avenue Q, Rachel Tucker, Jenna Russell and a lot more gathered together for four days of fun on the sea. Shows, signings, sing-a-long’s, Q&A’s and talks were mixed with hot tubs, swimming pools, surf simulators and all kinds of restaurants you could dream of. It was so much fun and next year sounds like it will be even more of a ball with a line-up including John Barrowman, Lea Salonga, Bonnie Langford, John Owen Jones, Marisha Wallace and Ramin Karimloo. Get booking now! REVIEW: Stages – The Musical Theatre Festival at Sea ★★★★★

Cruel Intentions (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 was one of the best I’ve been to. I saw so many great shows that all deserve to come to London but none more than Cruel Intentions the Musical. The iconic film, on stage set to an amazing 90’s pop soundtrack. It could have been awful but it was fabulous and I’m tapping my toe in anticipation for it coming to London. So if someone could arrange that I would be grateful. REVIEW: CRUEL INTENTIONS (Assembly George Square Gardens) ★★★★★

An Evening Without Kate Bush (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)
Any fan of this kooky 80’s queen of pop-synth experimental sound would love the idea of an evening with Kate Bush herself but as rather the recluse, she isn’t seen in the public eye very often these days. So this is the next best thing – Sarah Louise Young gives us an Evening Without Kate Bush but with one of the greatest impersonators and fans of her work. I could watch this every week! REVIEW: AN EVENING WITHOUT KATE BUSH (Voodoo Rooms) ★★★★★ 

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