2022 Stagey Round Up
2022 has been a great year for theatre with things finally returning to normal after the pandemic. I love looking back at all of the shows I have seen over the year and reflecting on how lucky I am to see such a huge variety of shows, many of which I wouldn’t see if it weren’t for this blog. This year I finished at a total of 60 shows as well as finally getting Shrek, which I directed for Bromley Players, up and running as well as performing in Evita.
Here are some stats to sum my blog’s year up – 14 5 star reviews, 28 4 star reviews, 15 3 star reviews, 3 2 star reviews, 6 am dram reviews and 2 event write ups with a total of 68 reviews.
So grab a glass of mulled wine and enjoy my yearly round up. Do let me know if you agree with my 2022 stagey Round Up or what your choices are!
Best West End Musical – Hamilton
The west end has some incredible show but this year saw my 3rd trip to Hamilton and it was as brilliant as ever. The cast I saw are as superb as the cast I saw on press night and I am itching to go back to check out the latest cast. You can read my full review from press night here.
Best Touring Musical – School of Rock
I saw School of Rock in the West End and I was really looking forward to seeing it on tour. I caught School of Rock’s tour at New Wimbledon Theatre in March and I loved this cast and the energy they brought to the stage. Here is my summary of the show:
“The highlights of the show are always when the children and Dewey are rocking out on the stage together, from ‘Stick it to the Man’ and ‘School of Rock’ you can’t help but want to get up and rock out with the cast. Finishing the show with these numbers back to back is the perfect end to School of Rock. It leaves the audience grinning from ear to ear and wishing that they had just tried a little bit harder to practise that instrument when they were younger.”
You can read the full 5 star review of School of Rock on tour here.
Runner Up – Singin’ In The Rain
Singin’ In the Rain tour hit New Wimbledon in June and I was lucky enough to see this dance spectacular. I’m not usually partial to a classic musical but this production really excels and the choreography by Andrew Wright is perfect for this show. You can read my full 4 star review here.
Best Fringe Musical – Ride
Ride hit Charing Cross Theatre in September 2022. The plucky musical tells the true story of Annie Londonderry, the first woman to cycle around the world in 1894. She does so off the back of a wager with strict conditions as to what counts as success but when she returns to America in 1895 the Latvian Jewish immigrant realises she is still having to work hard to prove herself, despite her accomplishment. The show is framed as a job interview for Annie which gives her a chance to recount her adventures with the help of Martha.
My review itself is full of superlatives, from the acting to the story and from the casting to the music. I am really hoping that there is a further life for Ride but in the meantime you can read my full review here.
Runner Up – Operation Mincemeat
Operation Mincemeat has been around for a little while now but each time I seemed to miss it, however in July I finally caught it at Riverside Studio’s. Operation Mincemeat is set in 1943 and the Allies are losing the war. A plan is needed to direct the Nazi’s away from Sicily and this plan is in the form of a dead corpse washing up on the shores of Spain. Together employees of MI5, nerdy Charles and entitled Montague, along with Leslie, who is desperate to break out of the patriarchal structure at MI5 and long serving Leggett hatch the crazy plan. It is a show that ticks so many boxes from fun, silly moments to irreverent satire to moving numbers.
You can read the full review here. Operation Mincemeat is transferring to the West End in 2023 for 8 weeks only at The Fortune Theatre.
Best Family Show – Frozen
Frozen was one of the first shows I saw in 2022 and it was a brilliant start to the year. It was a show that was simply spectacular. Here is a summary of my thoughts from my 5 star review:
“Frozen is the show on the West End that has undoubtedly given me the most wow moments and managed to move me to tears from simply the spectacle that was going on in front of me. From a hugely talented cast to a flawless production on all aspects this is a show that is perfect not only for children but for all of us that still believe in the magic of theatre.”
Best Play – Life of Pi
Life of Pi is the Olivier award winning play based on the book (and later film) of the same name. The most striking thing about Life of Pi was how visually stunning it was. Whilst I went with high expectations for the puppetry (which didn’t disappoint), what I hadn’t expected was the beautiful set and projection design. The show is a masterclass in puppetry and transporting the audience to a world away from London.
Life of Pi closes in the West End in 2 weeks time so get there quickly. You can read my full 4 star review here.
Best Drag Show – Queenz The Show With Balls
This year I was lucky enough to see many drag acts, from Ben DeLa Creme’s one woman show to Miz Cracker’s Who’s Holiday Show. My favourite drag show was Queenz The Show With Balls at Arts Theatre. Queenz has a huge party atmosphere performing numbers by Britney to Whitney with not a lip sync in sight. Whilst there was no narrative throughout the show the Queenz were strong enough performers not to need it and the message of empowerment provided all the heart that the show needed to deliver. If you love pop music or drag queens then this is the show for you, if you love pop music AND drag queens then this is a MUST see!!
You can read the full review here.
Best Dance Show – Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker
As you would expect from Matthew Bourne he has put his own spin on the Nutcracker, the initial scenes are set in an orphanage, filled with grey so when we arrive at Sweetie Land with a huge amount of colour and fun the contrast is even greater. The likes of the Sugar Plum Fairies have become marshmallow girls who totter around as if out on a shopping trip and the bouncer to Sweetie Land is a humbug. The new take on it is wonderfully fresh and it provides moments of laughter during the show and the show is much easier to follow. Whilst the take is fresh there is still elements of the traditional show you expect, the music of course never dates and is played beautifully by the orchestra.
You can read the full five star review here.
Best Event – Musical Con
Musical Con has finally hit the UK and I was lucky enough to go along on the Saturday. It had so many highlights including the interesting backstage talks, the performances on the main stage, support small stagey businesses and seeing so many top class performers in one room. Whilst there was room for improvement I can’t wait to go back in 2023. You can read my full thoughts here.
Best Concert – Bonnie & Clyde In Concert
I was thrilled when this concert was announced. I had listened to the original cast recording of Bonnie & Clyde so many time so to finally get to hear the show live was wonderful. The concert didn’t disappoint, with a phenomenal cast and staging that surpassed expectations the show was well deserving of its 5 star review. Here was my final thoughts on the show:
Bonnie & Clyde sets the bar almost unreachably high for the rest of the concerts I have booked for this year, combine interesting source material with a stunning score, add in a cast that I could listen to sing the score on repeat and sprinkle on top imaginative and emotive direction then you get this production of Bonnie & Clyde.
Runner Up – Jeremy Jordan at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Can you tell from my top 2 choices that I am a fan of Jeremy Jordan? As I admit in my review I am not normally one to fan girl but this goes out of the window with Jeremy Jordan. The concert at Drury Lane was exceptional and ticked all of the boxes for things fans could want to see.
You can read my 5 star review here.
Best Am Dram Show – The Toxic Avenger
After Covid it seems like it took until 2022 for amateur dramatics to find its feet again. I loved heading back to support am dram. My favourite show of the year was The Toxic Avenger by Festoon Theatre Company. Few words could do justice as to how wacky and laugh out loud funny the show was. I must also commend the design elements of the show. Not only was it a very high standard but it was all very cohesive. Toxie’s costume was a work of art in itself and the programme, produced like a comic book honoured the themes of the show beautifully.
Runner Up – Cats
Cats is a difficult show to stage for professionals let alone for amateurs but Centre Stage didn’t let this stop them. The vision for the show was inspired as it immediately provided the show with a sense of place. The choreography was inventive and well drilled, wisely steering clear of imitation when it came to the choreography and leaving the audience with a fresh interpretation of this musical.
You can read the full review here.
Most Read Article – Who Sang It Better – Bring Him Home –
Despite writing this some 6 years ago everyone seemed to go Les Miserables crazy this year and this resulted in my article on Who Sang It Better – Bring Him Home being my most read article of the year! Who is your favourite singer of this beautiful song?
Most Disappointing Show – Rehab The Musical
I never like to focus on the negatives but the question I always get asked is about which show I was most disappointed by. This year I didn’t give any one star reviews but I did give 3 2 star reviews. The most disappointing of these was Rehab The Musical as it had real promise with some of the cast. The show was let down by a weak book and I drew the conclusion that some shows I would be happy to overdose on but ‘Rehab The Musical’ as not one of them.
You can read my full 2 star review here.
As you can hopefully tell 2022 was a great year for theatre I want to thank all of my guest reviewers as well and I can’t wait to see what 2023 brings. I already have Hex, Six (again), Allegiance, The Commitments tour and Operation Mincemeat booked. I hope you have enjoyed my 2022 Stagey Round Up.