Our reviewers' picks of 2017

Reporter: David Chadderton

Dateline: 31st December, 2017

We asked some of our reviewers to give their top productions that they had seen in 2017, not necessarily ones that they reviewed for us. Here's what they came up with.

Othniel Smith (Cardiff)

Colin Davison (Midlands / South West)

Russians and Romans dominated my theatre-going in 2017 between Stratford-upon-Avon and Cardiff with points in-between and occasional forays beyond. There was a flurry of remarkably good touring productions toward the end of the year. Is the high standard of live relays from the National Theatre and elsewhere having a similar effect on productions and on audience expectations that live relays from Covent Garden and the Met have undoubtedly had on the quality of opera generally, I wonder.

Here are some of my favourites:

Sally Jack (Midlands)

Also, a great pleasure to enjoy a double dose of Layton Williams in two very different roles: Angel (Rent) and Seaweed (Hairspray).

Mark Smith (Yorkshire)

Steve Orme (Midlands)

Sandra Giorgetti (London)

This year will go down as a vintage one for Sondheim productions thanks to the magnificently extravagant Follies which I had the privilege to see twice. Lavish though it was, it was not the only Sondheim on the block and hasn’t erased the pleasures of the rarely seen Frogs at the Jermyn Street Theatre or the summer concert at Cadogan Hall.

Months on I am still smiling inwardly at new musical comedy The Sorrows of Satan and the charming We Are Brontë, whilst mourning the god of rain's interference with my visits to Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. I was also sorry to miss out on Papatango New Writing Prize-winning Trestle at Southwark Playhouse and King Tut at the King's Head, but you can't have it all.

On the whole, though, it has been a great year for me with the brilliant outnumbering the good and the good outnumbering the not very good.

High spots that haven’t made "the best of list" include A Bit of Bite in which a talented and youthful cast looked at the role of young people in contemporary politics as part of Battersea Arts Centre's Homegrown festival, new musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie with music by Dan Gillespie Sells and book and lyrics by Tom MacRae, and the 20th anniversary production of Jonathan Larson's Rent – the third and best production of this show that I have seen.

I could add a few more but it is I think now preferable to look forward to the highlights of next year and wish everyone a happy and theatre-filled 2018!

Highlights of 2017

Best musical revival:

Best musical:

Best play revival:

Best play:

Best adaptation:

Simon Sladen (Panto)

My top 5 pantos of the season, in no particular order:

Karen Bussell (South West)

Stand out for me in 2017 were:

Georgina Wells (North West / Dance)

My top 5 productions (four dance, and one dance-inspired visiting studio production) are:

Liam Blain (London)