It's been a long time since my last theatre review. Over fifteen weeks, to be exact, which is the longest I've gone without stepping foot in a theatre auditorium – and writing about it – for two years at least. This changed last night, however, when I found myself on a very unusual Zoom call; one like no other.
Two weeks ago, Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) was the first theatre to announce its fall into administration, after the blow of the Coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the cultural community.
What an absolute whirlwind February was! My 2020 mantra of 'Less Is More' has been well and truly left in the dust.
Make It SO 2020 (10-29 February) saw 19 locally-created, work-in-progress shows being performed and showcased over three weeks in NST's Studio space. The festival – in its second year! – was a chance for actors and creators to get feedback on performances and gain much-needed reactions, while getting their names out to new audiences.
Last weekend I made my first trip to Chichester Festival Theatre; a venue I've wanted to visit for a while! My excuse, finally, was to review A Monster Calls for Broadway World UK, which I had heard good things about and had volunteered to watch.
Adapted and directed by Liam Gifford, assisted by Rosie Peters, and produced by Holly Mitchell, this version of Twelfth Night is NST Youth Theatre's latest production; and while the script is all Shakespeare's, this is well and truly a modern-day rom-com.
Southampton's Mayflower Theatre asked me to go on a 24-hour solo adventure to preview the world stage premiere of Band of Gold at Nottingham's Theatre Royal before it arrives in our city in February.
This is a list of the shows that have really stuck with me right to the end of the year; the ones that still pop into my head when I think of 2019's highlights; the ones I would urge you to see if you get the opportunity in 2020.
I wanted to share with you my favourites out of that pile of 28, in the hope that you might find a new favourite of your own to add to your shelves this year.
Well shiver me timbers and sprinkle me with fairy dust – panto season has well and truly started, and Mayflower Theatre has pulled out all the stops to bring JM Barrie's family-favourite tale of Peter Pan to Southampton.