Best of...

As I haven't been inside a theatre since March, I don't have as many shows to choose from as usual, but I did see some great shows in those two and a half months. The most memorable shows for me were all touring productions, perhaps because our local producing theatres hadn't really had chance to get going for the year before they were forced to close.

Back to the Future was a show that lived up to all hype and expectations; I'm sorry I couldn't get the chance to see it again and take some other people with me while it was in Manchester. Kneehigh's Ubu was a play that was a great fit for this always-innovative Cornish company with a thoughtful contemporary political message wrapped up in a fun night of (non-intimidating) karaoke.

Also at The Lowry, Patrick Ness's powerful YA novel A Monster Calls, based on a story by the late Siobhan Dowd, was given a lively, imaginative and sumptuous stage transfer that packed much more of an emotional punch than any naturalistic treatment of the story could have done. I jumped at the chance to see it again when it was streamed online by Bristol Old Vic.

At the smaller scale, Mina Anwar was a perfect choice for Shirley Valentine from the Octagon at Bolton Library, The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel wasn't perfect but was a brave and entertaining treatment of the story and Trojan Horse at the Coliseum was certainly worth seeing.