Theatre Highlights of 2016
| By Molly Richardson
As an avid theatregoer, I’ve been fortunate enough to beat last year's "show count" by a mile so I thought I’d give you a few theatre highlights of 2016.
1. Theatreland Classics – I finally got to catch up on several theatrical classics in the West End. One of my favourites being "Les Mis", which I saw in February just before a cast change and it was mind-blowing, it’s easy to see why it’s lasted over 30 years; it’s easily one of my favourites. I saw “Phantom of the Opera” for the first time too in April, and while it’s personally not a favourite of mine there’s no denying it’s a spectacle. I also finally lived out my long-term goal of seeing “The Lion King” which was really special to me (and I cried from excitement at the first note of Circle Of Life).
2. Return Visits - I made return visits to two of my favourite shows “Mamma Mia!” and “Kinky Boots”, I had seen both in September 2015 and I fell in love so it was exciting to make return visits knowing how much I loved them. Since my visits, there have been cast changes so I guess I better make another return! (Though, it’ll be tough to beat Dianne Pilkington, Killian Donnelly and Amy Lennox in my eyes!)
3. New Shows – I’ve seen a few new shows this year, but my highlights are “Aladdin” and “School Of Rock” – both are full of fun and joy. I loved them, would probably regard them as some of my favourite shows and want to make return visits! I also found “Nell Gwynn” was an intriguing piece.
4. West End Live – It was my first year visiting WEL, and it was my birthday weekend! I had so much fun reliving my favourite shows, as well getting a preview of other shows. I really hope to attend again in 2017; I think it’s a brilliant event.
5. Wicked 10th Anniversary - While I personally don't feel for Wicked as much as I do for other shows, being part of this is something I’ll always regard as pretty special. It was a wonderful evening of an extra special show, and a privilege to share a room with so many stagey icons and Mr Stephen Schwartz!
6. UK Tours & Local Productions – I haven’t seen a great deal of UK tours, as unfortunately not all that many come to my hometown though my favourite has easily been “Mary Poppins” (at the Norwich Theatre Royal, a venue I must visit more) which was “practically perfect”. I also really enjoyed “Sister Act” (Ipswich Regent). While we may not get heaps of UK tours, my smaller local theatre, The New Wolsey in Ipswich holds some great shows. My highlights here include “Made in Dagenham”, “The Last Five Years” (New Wolsey) and “Sweeney Todd” (New Wolsey Studio).
7. Revivals – I haven’t seen a great deal of West End revivals, but I really enjoyed “Show Boat” and “Guys and Dolls”. It’s fun to see what can be done with old stories.
8. Meeting Stage Faves – I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some Stagey icons this year, including Killian Donnelly, Matt Henry, Amy Lennox, Gemma Arterton, Dianne Pilkington, Rachel Tucker, and Louise Dearman. Albeit most of them just briefly, it’s still been special!
It's been an amazing year for me with the theatre I've seen, and there's been very little I haven't enjoyed. But here's to 2017, I already have several shows in the pipeline, with no doubt more to come! Plus, stay tuned, as I’ll be giving you a look at 2017 too!