Our reviewers' picks of 2015

Reporter: David Chadderton

Dateline: 2nd January, 2016

This year, we asked some of our reviewers to give their top five productions that they had seen in 2015. The following lists are not necessarily of productions that these reviewers reviewed for us and may not even be in their usual areas—geographical or expertise—and some couldn't keep their lists down to just five, but they still make interesting reading.

Dave Jennings (North Wales reviewer)

Vera Liber (dance specialist, London)

In no particular order, the productions that made me laugh and lifted my spirits—much needed in a year of wars, poverty and crass politics.

Thomas Magill (London reviewer)

Sandra Giorgetti (London reviewer)

Rachel Elderkin (dance specialist, London)

Other stand-out pieces were to be found among mixed programmes of work, such as Kim Brandstrup’s Transfigured Night (Rambert), Mark Bruce’s Second Coming (Ballet Black) and Russell Maliphant’s Spiral Pass (performed by Bayerisches Staatsballett as part of Conceal|Reveal, a mixed programme celebrating Maliphant and Michael Hulls's 20 years collaborating together).

Othniel Smith (Cardiff reviewer)

Georgina Wells (Manchester reviewer)

Nina Romain (London reviewer)

Martin Thomasson (North West reviewer)

Simon Sladen (Panto Editor)

There are a couple of others I'd like to highlight:

Allison Vale (South West / South Wales reviewer)

Ray Brown (Yorkshire reviewer)

Sally Jack (Leicester reviewer)

  1. Hamlet—The Barbican, London
    After all the hype and hoo-ha surrounding 'that' Sherlock star, the placing of 'that' soliloquy and those preview 'reviews', seeing the final performance of this infamous production didn't disappoint with great performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Karl Johnson, together with an impressively dramatic set. 
  2. The Car Man—New Adventures touring production at Curve Theatre, Leicester
    The master storyteller Matthew Bourne presents another stunning production: hot, grimy and gritty, this is a powerful and emotional show.
  3. Death of a Salesman—RSC production at Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford
    A privilege to see Anthony Sher and Harriet Walter on stage, perfectly capturing the nuances in character as well as convincing in the switches between fantasy and reality in Arthur Miller's classic play.
  4. Manuelita—Popelei Theatre at Upstairs at the Western, Leicester
    Demonstrating how one performer (Tamsin Clarke) with the aid of one musician (Camilo Menjura), can take you to another world via a well-constructed story, brilliant physicality and use of a few well-chosen props; a charming and charismatic performance in an intimate space.

Mark Smith (Yorkshire editor)

Richard Vergette (Hull reviewer)

Richard has put one of his own plays in his top five, but he certainly justifies its inclusion below. Unfortunately we couldn't get another of our reviewers there to see it, but it certainly seems by all accounts to have been one of the most significant home-grown productions of the year in the region.