The full list :
Knight of the Burning Pestle (globe)
The Hard Problem (NT)
The Ruling Class (Trafalgar Studios)
The Merchant of Venice (almeida)
Anything Goes (touring)
Othello (globe schools)
Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (NT)
The Car Man (Bourne)
The Merchant of Venice (globe)
As You Like it (globe)
King John (globe)
The Beaux Stratagem (NT)
Richard II (globe)
Ballet de Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Nell Gwynn (Globe)
Three Days in the Country (NT)
In the Heights (KX)
Harlequinade (branagh company)
As You Like It (NT)
The Hairy Ape (old vic)
Macbeth (Young Vic)
Anyway, in date order, the top 10 were
Knight of the Burning Pestle (globe) – completely bonkers. 17th century panto, meta, backstage, then turn up the knobs until your audience hurts itself laughing and then KEEP GOING. And add morris dancing, monsters dressed as barbershop poles, and princesses in towers who nearly fall out of them.
Assassins (Menier) – When Sondheim is touched by genius and produces obsessive black comedy. And then has Catherine Tate and Aaron Tveit and Simon Lipkin AND Jamie Parker as the banjo-strumming narrator and the play ends with Jamie Parker pointing a gun in your face.
The Merchant of Venice (Almeida) – They set it in Las Vegas. Launcelot Gobbo is an Elvis impersonator. The caskets thing is a reality tv show that’s been going on so long it’s completely fucked up Portia. The ‘court’ is a mob justice dungeon out in the desert. And it turns out Elvis is the perfect soundtrack to Merchant of Venice. No-one ends up happy.
Anything Goes (touring) – fuck you, tap dancing, full on Cole Porter with a PG Wodehouse book. *jazz hands*
The Car Man (Bourne) – Bourne company, sex, violence, tension and jealousy. The audience will be in their bunk and needs an ice bath.
King John (globe) – Do not mess with the progeny of Eleanor of Aquitaine, ‘kay? Possibly the most politically relevant Shakespeare around.
Richard II (globe) – Charles Edwards, stop being so charming.
High Society (Old Vic) – Go away, you’re interrupting the party. Duelling pianos. Dancing on the pianos. Drunk Tracy. True Love. Boring fiancés. Jamie Parker as a cynical journalist. Surprising lean Rupert Young.
As You Like It (globe) – close scrape, this one, but the fools. oh my Bill, James Garnon as Jacques doing ‘All the world’s a Stage’, and then the tennis match-like sparring between the fools…
Harlequinade (Branagh) – If we are going to have 1940s backstage hapless players farce, then it will be perfectly timed comedy and having Branagh being an over the hill Romeo company manager, Zoe Wanamaker being a grande dame, enthusiastic promoted guardsmen, tea, and then a policeman will turn up 2/3rds of the way through, DAMMIT.
The WORST. Avoid if possible. In order of awfulness:
The Hairy Ape (old vic) – Completely incoherent. Sound and fury signifying nothing sums this play up. I couldn’t tell if the performances were any good because the play was so fecking awful.
The Hard Problem (NT) – Stoppard being Stoppard. But completely over-egged and really quite boring.
Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (NT) – civil war and everyone trying to figure it out afterwards by squabbling and then squabbling as they meandered through the countryside. needed to be cut in half.