Carole Woddis’s Top 3 from 2015; three theatres-Soho, Royal Court Upstairs, Theatre 503.
Carole Woddis Top 3 from 2015: work from Soho Theatre, Royal Court Upstairs, Theatre 503.
2015 has been another bumper year.
The problem with end-of-year round-ups for us London-based critics is, that like so much else relating to Britain at present, we’re spoilt for choice.
Which is not say great work is not to be found elsewhere in the UK. In fact, maybe we Londoners benefit precisely from the standards achieved elsewhere in that so much of it does eventually find its way to London.
This is particularly true of some of the smaller fringe theatres which more often than not tend to be my venues of choice anyway.
Soho Theatre, for example, has been host to an extraordinary stream of outstanding solo shows, two especially from Ireland – Pat
Kinevane in Silent, and Sonya Kelly’s How to Keep An Alien.
Add to that Sabrina Mahfouz’s Chef, and Róisín McBrinn’s Joanne for Clean Break (five solos, written by five writers, Deborah Bruce, Theresa Ikoko, Laura Lomas, Chino Odimba and Ursula Rani Sarma, superbly performed, in the former, by Jade Anouka and in the latter, by Tanya Moodie, encompassing five different characters) – plus two superb double-handers, Anders Lustgarten’s Lampedusa and Bryonny Kimmings and partner Tim Grayburn’s Fake It Till You Make It – and you can see that Soho comes very close to being my venue of the year.
Under Vicky Featherstone, the Royal Court Upstairs has also produced some exceptionally fine new plays this year – Fireworks by Dahlia Taha, Liberian Girl by Diana Nneka Atuona, Lela & Co by Cordelia Lynn and Plaques and Tangles by Nicola Wilson – none of them easy viewing but all exciting, poignantly fresh perspectives on our world today.
Theatre503 had a stunning debut play, And Then Come the Nightjars by Bea Roberts – a rare foray into rural England and Jon Brittain’s disturbing and quite beautiful transgender themed Rotterdam. I could go on!