2010 Best Play & Best Musical

Best Play



1. Tribes
This won’t really be a surprise to anyone who reads this blog as Nina Raine’s Tribes is one of those plays that will surely stay with me forever, with its immense personal resonance to my own experiences, some beautiful staging ideas, an incredible ensemble and as perfect and sympathetic a representation of the issues it covered than one could have hoped for. This was theatre at its best: thought-provoking, highly emotional and truly life-changing.

2. You Me Bum Bum Train
As brilliant an introduction to immersive theatrical experiences as one could have hoped for. Booked on a random whim without knowing anything about it, this was one of the most fun things I have ever done, yet the moments before I entered into this world were ones of genuine fear as I really had no idea whatsoever to expect and was terrified at the prospect of getting into the wheelchair that started the journey. Keep an eye out for their next adventure, it will be definitely worth it.
3. Palace of the End

A stunningly affecting evening of three monologues about Iraq that was rarely easy viewing but vitally important and intensely compelling: a triumph for the Arcola.
4. Love Love Love

Mike Bartlett proving himself as one of the most interesting playwrights in the UK and tackling current issues with an incisive touch and one of the best ears for sharply observed dialogue.
5. After the Dance
Classy National Theatre production of this relatively unknown Rattigan play with a great ensemble, great dresses and whetting the appetite perfectly for the centenary of his birth in 2011.

6. All My Sons
7. Holding The Man
8. Broken Glass

9. The Man

10. Henry IV Part I & II


Just missing out…
The Glass Menagerie, The Road To Mecca, Clybourne Park

Best Musical



1. Once Upon A Time at the Adelphi
An unexpected pleasure and one of the few times that I deliberately booked to see a show for a second time within the month. Phil Wilmott’s show was an exuberant experience, full of hummable tunes, fantastic choreography and a moving storyline bringing laughs and tears, this was sheer delight for me and perfectly suited to the Union Theatre, a real force on the South Bank and genuinely challenging the Menier for the go-to theatre for exciting and interesting musicals.

2. Love Story

A rarity in the West End in being a new British musical and a classy, understated and simply gorgeous one at that. Taking the well known story and fashioning a string-laden chamber musical out of it and featuring some stunning singing, great chemistry between its leads and onstage pasta sauce making (whilst singing), it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible so book your tickets now!
3. Les Misérables
A fantastic makeover of an old favourite that was surprisingly effective and a fitting tribute for its 25th anniversary celebrations.

4. Nevermore
A curious little Canadian musical about Edgar Allan Poe which was eerily atmospheric and utterly captivating: deserves to be brought back by the Barbican.

5. Salad Days
6. The Drowsy Chaperone

7. Legally Blonde The Musical

8. State Fair

9. Iolanthe
10. Midsummer [a play with songs]

Just missing out…Spend! Spend! Spend!, Into the Woods, Just So

2 Replies to “2010 Best Play & Best Musical”

  1. Interesting to see which ones you've picked, although some of your top ten were shows I didn't see (I "only" saw 200 shows this year after all.) There's 3 shows appearing in both our top tens (4 since I didn't do a separate musical category.) It's the first year I've done one, I'm guessing from the amount of posts you've done reviewing the year you don't find it any easier than I did to single stuff out. I ended up picking mine on the basis of which shows I'll most remember for the right reasons. (Of course, being mean-spirited, I've also done a bottom five of those I'll remember for the wrong ones.)

  2. It was incredibly difficult, especially looking back earlier in the year. Things like Dunsinane and Silence! The Musical, I really couldn't remember how much I'd genuinely liked them! Plus I do think it has been an extremely strong last couple of months so it has been hard trying to get the right balance. And narrowing it down has taken me most of the month, but as with you, I've gone for the ones that really stick in the mind.
    Look forward to seeing your list and hopefully see you soon at some point

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