It has been an exciting year for Upstaged Manchester and I feel blessed and nostalgic as I remember the productions that have lifted my heart, helped me to question and generally captivated me this year. Here is a list of my theatrical highlights for 2015.
Yen at The Royal Exchange
I couldn’t shake this 2013 Bruntwood Prize Winner by Anna Jordan for quite a while – it left my mind doing somersaults. Jordan’s phenomenal writing and her vivid characters combined with Ned Bennett’s clever direction and Georgia Lowe’s sparse set design gave an unforgettable fusion of total brilliance.
Nirbhaya at The Contact Theatre
This brave, real and haunting piece of work, exploring the effect of the brutal attack that Jyoti Singh endured on board a bus in Delhi on December 16th 2012, stopped me in my tracks and left me speechless. A perfect example of the role that theatre has in spreading an important message and how art can bring about change.
Shooting With Light at The Lowry
This is by far the best production I have ever seen in the Lowry Studio – slick choreography and an atmospheric soundscape. Idol Motion will certainly be a theatre company that I will be looking out for in 2016.
The Rolling Stone at The Royal Exchange
The Rolling Stone had me captivated – on the edge of my seat throughout. With outstanding performances from all, Chris Urch’s Bruntwood Prize Winner about the persecution of gay men in Uganda stays with you for a long time. I am so pleased that it is being performed at Orange Tree Theatre in January and February of 2016.
Boeing Boeing at Oldham Coliseum
I had never seen a farce done well – until I saw this version of Boeing Boeing directed by Robin Herford. An energetic production with an outstanding cast – their timing and delivery was impeccable. It really lifted my heart to see the performance propelled along by gasps, laughter and impromptu applause from the audience.
Beautiful Thing at The Lowry
The combination of Jonathan Harvey’s brilliant writing and Nikolai Foster’s intelligent direction managed to bring out every nuance in the script – I found myself noticing elements that I hadn’t fully appreciated in previous interpretations. This production felt like a celebration and a salute to how far rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people have come over the last 20 years, and a recognition that we still have a fair way to go.
Kafka’s Monkey at HOME
What an accomplished performer Kathryn Hunter is – such a rich tone and incredible physicality. Masterfully directed by Walter Meierjohann, I feel blessed to have witnessed a performance like this – this show certainly put Manchester’s new arts space HOME on the map.
Golem at HOME
A true theatrical spectacle and a perfect amalgam of animation, live performance, music and claymation. Golem was like nothing that I had ever seen before – sharp interaction between the performers, Paul Barritt’s eye-popping animation and Lillian Henley’s brilliant silent movie-esque score.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at The Lowry
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a tremendous piece of theatre – a perfect collaboration with outstanding performances throughout. Gripping and heartfelt – the perfect example of the power that theatre has to change the way that we view the world.
Wicked at The Lowry
Well, I’m a big fan of Wicked and despite having seen the production before it just gets better and better for me every time. With magnificent music and lyrics, Wicked is a theatrical feast for your eyes, ears and hearts.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you – thank you for all of your support this year.
Wishing you all the best in 2016.