I agree that 2013 is not up there with some of the highlights of last year. After the hype of Chichester's Theatre in the Park, The Pajama Game and Another Country were the only highlights of this year's festival.
I must say though that amongst all the musicals that premièred here this year, like Mormon, Once, Charlie, Psycho and Princess (I'm seeing Ward next Saturday though I am not expecting much), it was the more obscure ones that stood out to me
Best of 2013
Rutherford and Son (yes I am morbid)
A Chorus Line
The Scottsboro Boys
As You Like It (RSC)
Dangerous Corner (Salisbury)
[Title of Show] (Landor)
Worst of 2013
Alice in Wonderland (Volcano Theatre)
9 to 5
If Only (Chichester)
A Mad World My Masters (RSC)
The Cripple of Inishmaan
King Lear (Bath)
Edward II (NT)
The performances I would like to give plaudits to are Cynthia Erivo (Purple), Pippa Nixon (As You Like It), Gary Wood (Chorus), Hadley Fraser (Pajama) Sara Poyzer and Barrie Rutter (Rutherford).
Praise too to English Touring Theatre Company (Ghosts, The Misanthrope), Headlong (1984, American Psycho, The Seagull) and Salisbury Playhouse (Dangerous Corner, Joking Apart, Elegy for a Lady, Yalta Game, On Golden Pond, Recruiting Officer) for producing some consistently strong productions this year.
A special mention to Laura Marling for providing the brilliant music in Maria Aberg's As You Like It. It left me with a big smile on my face when I saw the production, and I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to the CD. You can listen to previews of the music here: https://itunes.apple...-it/id673199796
I'll give Tori Amos the benefit of the doubt here because when I saw this I could tell what the characters were singing. In comparison to Charlie's unintelligible lyrics, they helped to tell what is a complex story with clarity.
Yet it does not make up for the insipid music, which along with the constantly changing tone of the musical, helped to bring the pacing down to a crawl at times.
That said this musical should be seen for the cast (especially Rosalie Craig) and the production team has put into this. It really tops Charlie's production values for the pure effort they put into this. Absolutely spectacular.
Despite what I said (and the majority of London bookings I have already made are still new works), my mum really fancied seeing this so she has booked for us to see it on first night. I'll look out for you Latecomer.
I just saw Tobacco Factory's The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Whilst Piers Wehner as Proteus said the line "For Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews" during Act 3 Scene 2 a mobile went off loud and clear.
Thankfully Piers went on. He even changed the next line "Whose golden touch could soften steel and stones" to "Whose golden touch could soften steel and telephones".
I remember enjoying The Hypochondriac immensely and having seen The Misanthrope I think this is a fantastic production. Roger McGough has once again written a witty adaptation of Moliere's play by varying the verse forms and having some fun with the rhymes. Moreover this play is performed by a marvelous cast, particularly Colin Tierney as Alceste and Zara Tempest-Walters as Celimene.
The sticking fact is obviously that it allows someone like me, who lives outside London, to see NT productions cheaply without having to go all the way up there to see it. Of all the King Lears I have seen so far, Derek Jacobi is my favourite and that would not have been possible if it was not for NT Live
I have the same attitude for the Globe Theatre screenings. Despite all the hype I did not see Twelfth Night because I knew the production will be shown in cinemas. Next year yes, but that is no skin off my nose
It also allows me to see other shows when I do go up to London for the day.
Of course I am going to miss some of the experience, but then again the amount of NT Live shows that happen per year is nothing to the amount I see overall so it is not much of a loss