2011 Best New Play + Best New Musical

Best New Play

As the first full production in the Bush Theatre’s new premises, expectations for The Kitchen Sink were fairly substantial and in Tom Wells’ new play, they were met and then some. An intimate family drama, full of tender personal moments and a sense of humour that provided several laugh out loud moments. An interesting set design indicates just how interestingly flexible the new Bush space will be but it is writing of this calibre, performed by acting of top quality, that will ensure the Bush remains at the vanguard of new writing in London.

Honourable mention – For Once

Completely unexpected as I had no expectations or preconceptions about this play, the debut from Welsh playwright Tim Price. For Once displayed an excellent grasp of story-telling, interleaving three narratives in the aftermath of a shocking car crash to powerful, emotional effect. The Hampstead Theatre’s downstairs space has been a hotbed of new writing talent, the only downside to their ‘no critics’ policy is that these shows aren’t necessarily receiving the publicity they deserve.

13,

7-10

Best New Musical

There’s hardly anything more I can say about Matilda, so read these three reviews – of the first time I saw the show, how I fell in love with the soundtrack and then revisiting the show once it had transferred into London – and follow how I completely and utterly tumbled for this musical which is surely destined to become a classic.

Honourable mention: London Road

So close for this one, I was even tempted to make it joint first, but the sheer joy of Matilda won out in the end. But London Road made its quite considerable mark by successfully carving out its own identity as something quite new and different, unique even, as a verbatim musical dramatising the experiences of a group of Ipswich residents dealing with the impacts of the serial killings of 5 prostitutes. Revisiting the show as the riots hit the country in the summer, I was struck at how powerful its message was, about how mutually beneficial coming together as a community can be, and how strong it is musically – indeed, the soundtrack is now available to buy and is definitely worth a punt.

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