Here’s some top picks from the year of theatre-goings from this here 2017
Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragette Story
It’s no mean feat to bring together hundreds of volunteers from across York with different skills to create a mass community production. But York Theatre Royal are experts at this by now, and moments of this grand production were a breathtaking visual treat backed by mass voices. The struggle for the vote is one part of a larger struggle of human rights and class war. Totally justifies my belief that when cops drag OAPs from the gates of KM8 wellsite in Kirby Misperton they’re on the wrong side of history. Though I wanted a more scathing analysis of the current political climate (yes, we have a female PM, but yes, we still have mass sexism and rape culture) I was proud to have helped programme some buskers in the form of poets and musicians beforehand for the outside scenes and be part of the faux-protest that did raise awareness of women’s charities. Wrote a blog about it here.
Pink Sari Revolution
Sometimes shows about social justice can paint the hero as a pure and perfect leader for change, but Pink Sari Revolution was also nuanced and clever. The main character, Sampat Pal Devi, is a mighty force in the world fighting for women’s rights and inspiring to the core but also a problematic figure. The writing was inspiringly well-paced and really made me think about how you love along such a complex story in snappy scenes. Also loved the great tree snarling from the concrete and splash of beautiful pink in the set.
Great Youth Theatre shows have included seeing Salisbury Playhouse’s The Government Inspector, Zoetrope at West Yorkshire Playhouse (blog here), Pressure at Harrogate Theatre, The Blue Road at Derby Theatre and Our Mutual Friend at Hull Truck (as discussed here). The Youth Theatre sector continues to thrive and make amazing work to rival, even best, what we deem 'professional' work.
Morale Is High (since we gave up hope) - Powder Keg
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything - Middle Child
Two shows I saw on the same evening back-to-back at the same venue and both very similar. A little bit like a Bus Man’s Holiday in the sense both shows about luckless millennials trying to work out how to make an impact in a grey Tory Britain. As a luckless millennial, I could only sigh and say “yep, seems about right”. Both shows used great noisy live music, All We Ever Wanted was a great showcase spectacle and Powder Keg were a great sizzle of two chap chemistry and Beyblade references.
The Tin Drum – Kneehigh
This was my antidote to seeing some meh theatre over the course of the year. It was expensive, but it was ace. Visually it had everything you need from Kneehigh, messy and evocative and splashy and bright. The songs were like a punk orchestra. Time-to-time it’s nice to drag myself from the back rooms of pubs doing solo sets to see something that dominates the stage with a spectacle of style and sound.
A Show That Gambles On The Future - Mark Thomas