Review of the Year - The London Stage

Reporter: Philip Fisher

Dateline: 29th December, 2017

London's best in 2017

It is very pleasing to be able to report that, without a shadow of a doubt, 2017 has been the best year in living memory for new plays on the London stage.

It has also been a year when a series of directors have branched out and launched new companies, Dominic Dromgoole favouring Oscar Wilde, Marianne Elliott opening with Simon Stephens and Nicholas Hytner’s brand-new Bridge Theatre leading with Richard Bean.

All of this is highly encouraging for the medium that we all love and one hopes that it heralds a new period of prosperity amid so much political uncertainty on either side of both the Atlantic and the English Channel.

Regrettably, on the other side of the equation, an assortment of scandals has shed a cloud across the industry in the latter months of 2017. At present, all of these relate to historical sexual harassment and as far as one can tell, none has yet improved. One fears that this is an issue that could run and run. Eventually, though, a cathartic period of truth and reconciliation might lead to a healthier atmosphere for all involved going forwards.

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 2017 overview. An omission is as likely to be an indicator of exhaustion at the end of yet another incredibly busy theatrical year, as lack of interest in or dislike of a particular play.