2015 has been a great year for theatre in Bristol and Bath. Looking back over the seventy eight productions I have reviewed this year (which also includes two shows seen in Salisbury and nine on a three day binge at Latitude) what is immediately clear is how many strong shows have been seen this year. I’m not a massive fan of star ratings, knowing that people will judge a work solely on how many of the damn things you have awarded a show, but being forced to give them for my work with Whats On Stage and The Reviews Hub means that it is an easy barometer to check for quality. There have been plenty of shows meriting four stars this year and three five star shows is also something of a record. Even more encouraging is that absolute duds have stayed off the stages this year, there have been no disasters on the scale of Filter’s Macbeth this year.
So onto my annual list of the work that has impressed me most over the past twelve months. Over the next six days (not including the weekend) I’ll be choosing the crème de la crème in the following categories.
Touring Production of the year
5. The Magic Flute-WNO at Bristol Hippodrome
4. An Oak Tree- Tim Crouch at Bristol Old Vic
3. Grounded- Gate Theatre at Arnolfini presented by Bristol Old Vic
2. Fake It ‘Til You Make It- Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn Latitude Festival
1. The Encounter- Complicite at Bristol Old Vic
Supporting Performance of the year
Venue of the year
Outside of the touring award each of these categories will be selected only from work created in the area. My reasons for this is that I would classify myself as a critic first and foremost for the area and a lot of the productions and performances that come in on tour are justly recognised elsewhere. This is a good a time as any to celebrate the amazing artists and companies from the area that have made 2015 such a great year and filled it with so many wonderful memories.