Looking ahead to 2015

I realise I’m just adding (belatedly) to the plethora of 2015 features already published but so many of them trod the boringly familiar ground of forthcoming West End shows (and in the Evening Standard’s case, managed to recommend booking for three shows already sold out from their list of six). So I’ve cast my net a little wider and chosen a few random categories for just some of the shows I’m recommending and looking forward to in 2015.

Productions I’ve already seen elsewhere and highly recommend

Musicals to make the heart beat faster

  • Sheffield Theatre’s Christmas show Anything Goes kicks off a massive UK tour in Wimbledon
  • The first professional production of Bugsy Malone in a decade will enliven the Lyric Hammersmith
  • One of the fondest remembered shows of my childhood, Return to the Forbidden Planet also tours extensively
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole continues Leicester’s Curve’s sterling commitment to new British musical theatre
  • And opening now at the Southwark Playhouse is the hugely promising Bat Boy The Musicalfeaturing the return of the glorious Lauren Ward to our shores

Plays I know and love receiving new productions

  • Ivo van Hove directing Juliette Binoche in Antigone at the Barbican. Enough said.
  • It’s won’t, can’t, live up to Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson (can it?!) but in great news, Nick Payne’s Constellations will tour the UK in 2015. The only date I’ve found thus far is Liverpool in May but more info will soon be coming
  • After an underwhelming cinematic adaptation, Laura Wade’s Posh also receives its regional premiere in a co-production from Nottingham Playhouse and Salisbury Playhouse
  • Educating Rita returns to Willy Russell’s native Liverpool with Gemma Bodinetz directing the ever-exciting Leanne Best
  • Sheffield’s Sarah Kane Season sees productions of BlastedCrave and 4.48 Psychosis as part of a wide-ranging career retrospective.

Writers I’m excited to see new work from

  • After invigorating a hitherto unseen slice of Scottish history in The James PlaysRona Munro now turns to the gang history of Manchester in Scuttlers which appears at the Royal Exchange in February.
  • I would argue that Mike Bartlett has a strong claim to being one of , if not the, best playwrights in the UK, switching effortlessly from the epic to the intimate and rewarding us with near-Simon Stephens levels of prolificness. Next up is Game which plays at a radically reconfigured Almeida.
  • Between Charlie and Matilda, Roald Dahl is well represented in the West End at the moment and now the Royal Court is getting in on the act with The Twits. That it is Enda Walsh who is responsible for the “mischievous adaptation” only makes it more exciting.
  • Robin Soans may be better known as an actor but he’s also a renowned playwright as well and Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage sees him take on sport and sexuality and the outing of Gareth Thomas. Touring Wales and then England before playing a month at the Arcola.
  • From an extraordinary debut in Many Moons and last year’s splendid Revolt. She Said. Revolt AgainAlice Birch is carving out quite the interesting niche for herself, so I’m looking forward to heading over to Richmond’s Orange Tree for Little Lies.

Directors to look forward to

  • Blanche McIntyre takes on Stoppard’s Arcadia for ETT
  • David Mercatali reunites with Philip Ridley and Gemma Whelan (from Dark Vanilla Jungle) for Radiant Vermin at the Soho Theatre
  • Ellen McDougall launches what looks to be a fascinating cross-cast double bill in Anna Karenina and The Rolling Stone in Manchester and Leeds
  • Jude Christian put two pigs on the stage of the Gate last year so who knows what will be in store for Harajuku Girls at the Finborough
  • Rebecca Atkinson-Lord’s Cuddles enchanted me at the Oval House in 2013 so will be well worth the trip

National tours from great companies

  • The Absence of War, Headlong
    Going to Sheffield, Norwich, Watford, Bristol, Cheltenham, Liverpool, Glasgow, Oxford, Kingston-upon-Thames and Cambridge
  • All My Sons, Talawa
    Going to Ipswich, Cambridge, Salisbury, Watford, Oxford, Birmingham, Richmond, Colchester and Malvern
  • Rebecca, Kneehigh
    Going to Plymouth, Bath, Wycombe, Richmond, Cambridge, Canterbury, Salford, Eastbourne, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Malvern and Newcastle
  • Mermaid, Shared Experience
    Going to Nottingham, Leeds, Mold, Richmond, Cardiff, Southampton, Edinburgh, Watford and Oxford,
  • Macbeth, Tara Arts
    Going to Hexham, Huddersfield, Margate, Buxton, Swansea, Poole, London, Windsor, Bury St Edmunds Derby, Peterborough and Harrogate

Shows that I can’t find a category for

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