Review of the Year - The London Stage

Reporter: Philip Fisher

Dateline: 31st December, 2016

Best of the year

The term might have become unfashionable but 2016 was indisputably the year of the actress. Again and again, while their male counterparts were no slouches, the greatest of female performers appeared on London's stages and took the breath away, in a surprising number of cases playing male Shakespearean roles.

The cult of the personality continues to dominate as it has done for so many years. Yet again, London welcomed a series of TV and film stars, all hired to boost ticket sales rather than necessarily improve the quality of the production.

However, the biggest event of the year was the opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, almost certainly the most hyped and commercially successful straight play in recent memory.

Once again, we present selections of the very finest theatrical productions and performances for which there are no prizes other than this recognition and my profound thanks for the pleasure that each has given me. These are selected from all that I have seen, not just London productions.

Many congratulations to these winners. They have made trips to the theatre (and bookshelf) really special once again and have no doubt given great pleasure to numerous other theatre lovers as well your critic.

I append the usual apology to those that have inadvertently been missed out of the 2016 overview. An omission is as likely to be an indicator of exhaustion at the end of one of the busiest theatrical years in living memory as lack of interest in or dislike of a particular play.

In order to make what is otherwise a very long article more readable, it is once again divided into the following categories: