Tim Pigott-Smith as King Charles III at Wyndham's Theatre, London's West End, September 2014

Tim Pigott-Smith as King Charles III at Wyndham’s Theatre

Can you keep up with all the 2014 theatrical year round-ups? I’ve rounded up the round-ups to give you a quick overview.

The Guardian went ALL out looking back with a profusion of top 10 lists from its various critics, including eminence grise Michael Billington, fringe and festival queen Lyn Gardner, columnist Mark Lawson and arts editor Chris Weigand, as well as around the UK and across the pond.

Elsewhere, leading critics including Henry Hitchings, Susannah Clapp, Mark Shenton, Matt Wolf and Christopher Hart and top bloggers (not least, the hands-down most comprehensive list-maker Stephen Collins) weigh in.

Across the board, Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III, the RSC’s adaptation of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Rona Munro trilogy The James Plays at the National Theatre care of the National Theatre of Scotland, two Arthur Miller revivals, the Young Vic’s radical reinterpretation of A View from the Bridge and, down the road, the Old Vic’s in-the-round staging of The Crucible, are most frequently cited amongst the top plays of the year.

Gillian Anderson in Streetcar, Tim Pigott-Smith as King Charles III, Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit and Imelda Staunton, swapping between Broadway originated pieces, David Lindsay Abaire’s play Good People and classic 1959 musical Gypsy, are the standouts amongst the year’s noted standout performances. Jamie Lloyd’s Menier Chocolate Factory revival Assassins is most likely to top best musical lists, followed by two fringe productions of another Sondheim, Sweeney Todd.

Amongst the other excellent productions and people with multiple mentions are:

  • PLAYS – Accolade, Electra, Every Brilliant Thing, Idomeneus, Let the Right One In, My Night With Reg, Sirens, Skylight, The Nether, The Wild Duck and Visitors
  • MUSICALS – Here Lies Love, In the Heights, Memphis, Sunny Afternoon, The Scottsboro Boys and Urinetown
  • PERFORMANCES – Aaron Tveit in Assassins, Eileen Atkins as Ellen Terry, Helen McCrory in Medea, Richard Armitage in The Crucible, Tanya Moodie in Intimate Apparel and and the cast of Handbagged.


SEE ALSO … My various Top 10 #theatre2014 lists – and audiences’ Twitter contributions – here. 


Guardian Goes Top 10 Mad


Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III was the popular hit of the year – and deservedly so. Also The James Plays, The Crucible, Skylight, Gypsy, Ballyturk, 2071 and… Agree or disagree????


Contemporary French drama The Father, Every Brilliant Thing, online play Speak Bitterness, Idomeneus, controversial The Simpsons-inspired dystopia play Mr Burns and…. Agree or disagree????


The Observer’s theatre critic is swept away by Gillian Anderson, Carey Mulligan, Tim Pigott-Smith, Ashley McGuire, Imelda Staunton, Grace Savage, Rebecca Humphries and… Agree or disagree????

Mark Lawson’s Top 10 Shows

Reinterpreting an Arthur Miller classic, Accolade, Electra, Visitors, God Bless the Child, King Charles III, Skylight, The Testament of Mary, Assassins at the Menier and… Agree or disagree???

Chris Wiegand’s Top 10 Shows

Top of my list of brilliant things in 2014 is a list of one million brilliant things in the world. Plus A View from the Bridge, Let the Right One In, A Taste of Honey, Sirens and… Agree or disagree?

Lyn Gardner’s Standout Performances

Tim Pigott-Smith, Imelda Staunton, Kenneth Cranham, Tanya Moodie, Kate Duchene, Zoe Wanamaker, Noma Dumezweni, the cast of Blurred Lines and… Agree or disagree????

Alfred Hickling’s Top 10 Regional Shows

The industrious audio-visual collective Imitating the Dog seemed to be everywhere this year. Plus Kes, Krapp’s Last Tape, Beryl, Queen Coal and… Agree or disagree???

Mark Fisher’s Top 10 Scottish Shows

Getting your head around why 2014 was such a significant year for Scotland takes nine minutes. That’s the running time of David Greig’s online monologue Dear David… Agree or disagree???

Alexis Soloski’s Top 10 US Shows

That the Tony nominating committee utterly snubbed Will Eno’s heartbreaking comedy, performed by Toni Colette, is enough to make you give up on awards for good… Agree or disagree???

Other National Newspapers


Evening Standard critic Henry Hitchings’ “definitive top ten” includes Wolf Hall, A Streetcar Named Desire, Visitors, The Crucible, Assassins and Sweeney Todd (but which one?)… Agree or disagree????


Christopher Hart hails Gillian Anderson’s Blanche Dubois as the year’s standout performance and loudly bemoans the march of bad screen-to-stage musicals …. Agree or disagree???


Charles Spencer’s successor Dominic Cavendish hails the new reign of kings and leading ladies, with picks including The James Plays, Helen McCrory and Eileen Atkins… Agree or disagree???


The Indy picks its ‘Cultural People of the Year’, with Young Vic artistic director David Lan named this year’s Theatre leader, alongside Scarlett Johansson for film. Good company… Agree or disagree?

Industry Perspective: The Stage


Mark Shenton rewinds through the peaks and troughs of the year’s plays and musicals, and reflects o our virtual return to the 1980s with Miss Saigon, Cats and Evita revivals… Agree or disagree?

Behind the Scenes in 2014

Mark Shenton looks at the year’s offstage happenings including the aftermath of the Apollo roof collapse, new artistic directors and other changing regimes (even I get a mention)… Agree or disagree?

Best London Musicals of 2014

Mark (again!) selects his favourite musicals from the year including The Lion, In the Heights, Dogfight, City of Angels, Here Lies Love, Forbidden Broadway and Memphis… Agree or disagree??

Best Fringe/Off-West End of 2014

Honour Bayes finds the fringe on bullish form in 2014, with winning productions including cerebral explorations, feminist fightbacks and provocative journeys into darkness… Agree or disagree??

Around the Web


Matt Wolf’s top 10 includes Privacy and My Night with Reg at the Donmar, A View from the Bridge, Blithe Spirit, Medea, The Comedy of Errors, The James Plays, The Pass and… Agree or disagree???


Stephen Collins’ extensive best of lists include not just the best plays and musicals across the board, but the best specifically at the NT, Globe, Royal Court and much more…. Agree or disagree?

Broadway.com: 5 Best London Performances

In this piece, Matt Wolf narrows his picks down to the year’s creme de la creme performances from: Mark Strong, Eve Best, Helen McCrory, Eva Noblezada and Aaron Tveit… Agree or disagree??

Broadwayworld: Best & Worst Shows

Gary Naylor’s favourite 2014 shows include 1984, Wolf Hall, Seth Rudetsky, A Spoonful of Sherman, Land of Our Fathers, Avenue Q, Ushers, two Sweeney Todds and… Agree or disagree???

Actors’ Picks of the Year’s Favourites

What did Sabrina Aloueche, Lucy Todd, Tiffany Graves, Rebecca Caine, Ben Stott and Tim Driesen most enjoy when they weren’t giving their own performances… Agree or disagree???

West End Frame: Top 10 Performances

Andrew Tomlins’ standouts this year include Angela Lansbury, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Killian Donnelly, Beverley Knight, Imelda Staunton (x2), Tam Mutu, Idina Menzel and… Agree or disagree???

West End Frame: Top 5 Theatrical Events

Some spot-on and some quirky ‘event’ choices here: We Will Rock’s closure, Billy Elliot screened live to cinemas, “Elphaba overload”, “Idina takes over the world” and… Agree or disagree?

LondonTheatre: Annual Round-up

Plays of the year here include My Night With Reg and King Charles III, Imelda Staunton again does double time for Good People and Gypsy, the Young Vic is venue of the year and… Agree or disagree?

Still more … added in January


Critic Paul Taylor rates A View from the Bridge, The Nether, The James Plays and Intimate Apparel (with ‘unforgettably moving’ Tanya Moodie) as the year’s best. 2014 turkey: 2071… Agree or disagree?


Wilma mulled over the 300+ shows she’d seen to highlight Shakespeare in Love, Miss Saigon, Urinetown, Memphis, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Calamity Jane, Return of the Soldier and… Agree or disagree??


Accolade, Good People, Wonderland, Golem, Visitors, Sweeney Todd, Made in Dagenham, The James Plays, LIFT’s Symphony of the Missing Room make the grade here and… Agree or disagree??

British Theatre Guide

Philip Fisher’s comprehensive review of the year heaps praise on King Charles III, Our Town, Made in Dagenham, Visitors, The Crucible, The James Plays, Electra, Wolf Hall and… Agree or disagree??

The Stage: An Agent’s Take

Cole Kitchenn agent Stuart Piper saw clients in myriad shows. Amongst his favourites were Gypsy, Memphis, Assassins, White Christmas, Blithe Spirit, Medea and Sweeney Todd (x2)… Agree or disagree??

Laura Peatman

This blogger’s five favourites of 2014 were musicals Memphis, The Scottsboro Boys and In the Heights, and plays The Nether and A Streetcar Named Desire with Gillian Anderson… Agree or disagree?

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