round-up of 2011
An excellent year, with delights and discoveries far outweighing the rough and the routine.
Good to venture further, too, discovering new venues and enthusiastic companies.
My thoughts still sometimes appear in The Chelmsford Weekly News, and on The Public Reviews and occasionally on Remote Goat. I'm particularly pleased to have been invited once or twice purely on my own account.
Inevitably, many of the memorable evenings were from groups established at the top of their profession: The Sixteen at Walsingham, Journey's End on tour, Frankenstein, One Man Two Guvnors and Grief at the National, the Rattigans at Chichester.
The Lord Chamberlain's Men, never disappointing, brought a great Dream to Hylands Park, and the other, darker Dream of this year was from ENO at the Coliseum. Two children's book with a WWII setting impressed on tour – Friend or Foe and the more familiar Goodnight Mr Tom. Wittenberg, a reading at Shakespeare's Globe, who've had a great season, was an unexpected treat, and the show I went back to see again [always a sign of excellence] was Pick Yourself Up at the Queen's Hornchurch – a new musical which proved a ready-made classic, and would not look out of place in Regent's Park or the West End.
Of the Christmas shows, the palm would have to go to this year's rock'n'roll Robin Hood at the Wolsey, though Chelmsford's Sleeping Beauty ran it a close second for sheer enjoyment and enthusiasm.
On the amateur stage, we saw a very good Company at Brentwood, an outstanding Into The Woods at Witham, and, in a varied season at the Old Court, an impressive Closer and a well-played Lion in Winter.
Do feel free to comment with your favourites from 2011 – we look forward to being delighted all over again in 2012.