2013 - the year in review: The best theatre of the year
Saturday 28 December 2013
"Chimerica", Almeida, then Harold Pinter Theatre
Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica was the best and boldest new play of the year – a thriller-like quest; a penetrating probe into the ethics of photojournalism; and a witty, multi-layered meditation on the co-dependency of the two global superpowers. Lindsey Turner directed the dazzling premiere.
"Ubu Roi", Barbican Theatre
Declan Donnellan and his crack French company gave a blackly hilarious twist to Jarry’s classic about infantile despots. The modern-dress production oscillated between elegant bourgeois decorum and the anarchic fantasies of a vengeful, camera-wielding son. We need to talk about Boggerlas.
Using his own sharp, swift-footed adaptation, Richard Eyre’s spell-binding production of this Ibsen masterpiece moves to its shattering climax in an unbroken 90-minute arc, with Lesley Manville a subtle and searching Mrs Alving. A transfer to the Trafalgar Studios runs from mid-December to 8 March.
"Othello", Olivier, NT
Mostly set in a concrete military compound, Nicholas Hytner’s anti-heroic and thrillingly incisive modern-dress production ditched the glamour and “exoticism” in favour of detailed, naturalistic precision which the superb double act of Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear penetratingly provided.
"Jumpers For Goalposts", Paines Plough tour, ending at the Bush
In Tom Wells’s delightful and touching comedy, romance tentatively blossoms between two male members of a hapless Hull five-a-side team struggling to avoid relegation in a lesbian and gay league. It confirms Wells’s rich and rare gift for celebrating the goodness in ordinary folk.
Discovery of the year
Ustinov Studio, Bath
This intimate studio was not high on the list of must-visit venues. But in 2013, with his revelatory seasons of contemporary American plays and Spanish golden age drama, Laurence Boswell, its artistic director, has decisively established it as a powerhouse.
Turkey of the Year
"Wag: The Musical", Charing Cross Theatre
A “personal spray tan artist” was credited in the programme, but what this show more urgently needed was the services of an undertaker. Awkwardly cast with a sprinkling of self-professed WAGS, it was a talentless, empty-headed compromise between mockery and glorification.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 2 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 3 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 5 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
This house and dental clinic 'piled up like bricks on the brink of collapsing' is why Japan wins at architecture
'I just want to get home and watch Match of the Day': The Specials frontman Terry Hall admits the agony of being in an aging rock band during gig
Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'