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.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 London council removes 'unacceptable' Stamford Hill posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'