My take on the year’s outings:
A Christmas Carol (Arts). A hit, nicely performed by Simon Callow.
Hedda Gabler (National). A top ten smash, an engrossing version of a favourite play.
She Loves Me (Menier). A hit, with a bouncy score and obligatory Strallen.
Round the Horne (Richmond). A muddle, with some laughs and a fab Kenneth W but a lot of it felt forced.
Twelfth Night (National). Another definite hit, lifting the play to something new and fresh.
Lost With Words (National). Improv with aged thesps, which I loved. It seems to have been overlooked by many.
Honeymoon in Vegas (Palladium). Concert version, which suffered from unsure leads but had moments which did justice to the original film.
Amadeus (National). A play I love, but I disliked this production’s Mozart too much to class this as a highlight.
Shirley Valentine (Richmond). A hit, in a role Jodie Prenger was surely born to play.
An American in Paris (Dominion). I loved it with its dancing and its sweetness. It should have had a longer life.
The Goat, or Who is Sylvia (Theatre Royal Haymarket). An inventive hit and a black as pitch play.
Carousel (Coliseum). Dreadful leads couldn’t mar the superior material, but when the supporting cast is what you remember, there’s something wrong.
42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane). Opulent hit, nicely done songs and red hot tap.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Harold Pinter). Sensational and brilliant but Conleth Hill beat Imelda to the acting gold.
Lettice and Lovage (Menier). Quaintly dotty but quietly fun.
We saw Rainbow with Sweet at the Stone Free Festival, O2 Arena. The former were great, the latter were better than expected.
Penn and Teller (Eventim Apollo Hammersmith). A new show with old favourites and quirks. Always a pleasure.
Half a Sixpence (Noel Coward). Joyous fun with great songs, even on Charlie Stemp’s week off.
The Tempest (RSC at the Barbican). Video projections and holograms were gimmicky but worth it for SRB.
IAAF World Championship Athletics with my Sport Personality of the Year, Hero the Hedgehog.
The Mentor (Vaudeville). A strange play, but one I enjoyed.
Follies (National). Musical of the Year, beautifully done and almost perfectly cast.
Girl from the North Country (Old Vic). A stunning Dylan score made up for any story deficiencies.
Wings (Young Vic). Loved it, and Juliet Stevenson was terrific in that flying harness, remembering a tricky script.
Heisenberg (Wyndham’s). Two actors at the top of their powers in an engrossing and curious romance of uncertainty.
Beginning (Dorfman). Another strange romance in real-time, nicely played and well-written.
Big Fish (The Other Palace). Superlative in every way.
And we saw Bananarama, who were far better than expected.
Glengarry Glen Ross (Playhouse). A mini-hit, but not spectacular.
Moscow State Circus (Ealing Common). It’s got a big top and suspension stunts. What’s not to like?
Mother Goose (Questors Theatre). Fun and boos and don’t look behind you!
We also saw Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – formerly in The Beautiful South – and they were excellent.
Shows missed due to illness this year – Art, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Grand Mort, Salome, Julius Caesar and Ant & Cleo.