I thought about doing a best of list, but after thinking about what we had seen, I concluded that “Best of” was not a good description.
My first cut at “best” put Farinelli and the King, Bombay Black,The Divine and Tom at the Farm on my list. These were all new plays, so they had the benefit of not having been seen before, as well as great casts, production and stories. But what does that mean for Shaw and Shakespeare? Do they not make the list because they are so familiar? Because we have seen all of them so many times?
Does the production have to offer a unique perspective – think of Much Ado About Nothing, Bollywood style? Clearly that alone does not get you to the top or even onto the list.
And how do you handle The Sound of Music, which I saw three times and enjoyed every time?
The Diary of Anne Frank was a great production with a great cast. Does it not make the list because the story is familiar? The Beckett Trilogy (Not I, Footfalls and Rockaby) was definitely not familiar, but did not make the list either. I am not sure why, except it just did not feel like one of the best. Very good, but not the best.
One of the most enjoyable evenings at the theatre was provided by Kinky Boots. I love singing, dancing and costumes, but it does not make it to the top.
Peter Hinton almost made the list twice, with Bombay Black and Pygmalion. But somehow, Pygmalion did not quite make the list, although it was very good.
The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide almost made it. So did The Last Wife.
I give up. If you want a best of 2015 list, you will have to make your own. But the good news is that we saw a lot of great theatre in 2015 and things are looking great for 2016.