A bit later than I normally do this kinda wrap-up, but then again I saw my last shows of the year a little bit later than I normally do.
Anyway. As usual, there's a lot that I didn't see, and undoubtedly there are things that I loved that other people hated and things other people loved that I didn't care for. So ... it's a blog, it has personal taste in it,
In local musicals the two big shows for me were "High Fidelity" and "Company". Both have thematic similarities (men in contemporary relationship dramas with high comedic elements), and both had significant cast overlap in supporting roles (Amy Dunham, Max Gambale and Will Huang). And both are shows I'm proud to see local companies attempting - neither overly-familiar, both well directed by directors who were either first-timers (Fidelity) or were having their first attempt at a musical (Company).
In local plays, the highlights were "The Crucible" and "Casanova". Here there were strong contrasts - Crucible was intense drama, with a puritanical design and a crushing heart, while Casanova was wild comedy, rich, beautiful and ornate. But both featured great casting both in the central and ensemble roles, both had direction with intense focus on details and were theatrically rich meals.
Interstate, the musical that stands out is "Man of La Mancha". The combination of a true star performance from Tony Sheldon and a clever intimate staging made for a heartfelt production that combined fantasy and reality and made a old warhorse something relevant and new.
As for plays interstate, it was a mixed year but Belvoir came home strong with the one-two punch of "Ivanov" and "Mortido". Whether it be a comic-drama about an intellectual going to seed in the Russian countryside, or an intense thriller about the cocaine trade that spread worldwide, Belvoir delivered gripping theatre that kept me engaged, thrilled and eager to come back for more.
There's a lot to look forward to in 2016, and hopefully I may actually get back to submitting reviews sometime near the time that I actually saw shows. May there be much of excellence!