Thursday, 3 December 2009

Advent Favourites: The best plays of 2009

Derry Nairn:
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall
'By far and away the best historical play I was lucky enough to see this year. Performed in a tiny and stiflingly sticky London theatre by a cast of only two, the play successfully re-imagined the fateful last night in the life of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King’s life.' Read the full History Today review.

Sheila Corr:
Moliere or The League of Hypocrites by Mikhail Bulgakov at the Finborough Theatre
'Wonderfully staged and excellently acted by the National Theatre Studio, this play, about court favourite Moliere, writer, actor and theatre manager, brought down by the power of the king (Louis XIV) and church. Seen from the perspective of Stalin’s equally challenging Russia, but can be enjoyed on many levels.' Read the full History Today review.

Pinar Sevinclidir:
Avon Calling by Louise Platt at Camden People’s Theatre (performed by The Other Way Works theatre company)
'The story of two women. The famous “Ding Dong Avon Calling” fanfare was first heard on US televisions in 1950s. Since then Avon has promised beauty and glamour to women around the world. You can almost smell the powder in the air while Lou tells you the story of herself and her mom.'

Kathryn Hadley:
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall
'Immensely powerful with excellent performances by David Harewood as Luther and Lorraine Burroughs as Camae, the mysterious maid who comes to visit him in his motel room the evening after he gave his ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ speech. Luther was assassinated the following day. The play goes beyond the myth of Martin Luther to reveal him as a man like any other: he has his weaknesses and is a frightened man.'

Charlotte Crow:
A New World, by Trevor Griffiths at Shakespeare's Globe
'As founding fathers, slaves and revolutionaries American and French mingled energetically among the brave punters who endured standing in the pit for three hours, my spirits lifted. Although sprawling in places, the ambition to convey to a modern audience the story of Paine’s life, interwoven with some sense of his ideas and their impact in the 18th century and beyond seemed in itself a radical endeavour in these days of celebrity slush and cultural naval-gazing.' Read the full History Today review.

1 comment:

Mark Shanahan said...

Warhorse - took my family to see it at the National before its transfer to the New London Theatre. We were a group aged 8-40-several and all of us found something deeply moving and rather wondrous in the production. Great acting - and puppetry doesn't even begin to describe the way the horses are brought to life on stage. This play will live long with me and my family.

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