MY WEEK (December 25, 2014): A chance to choose my top five favourite shows of 2014

Picture by Ray Bailey LRPS
Picture by Ray Bailey LRPS

I saw an interesting little factoid on the internet the other day while aimlessly clicking on websites. It stated that the year 2030 is now almost as far away as the year 2000.

This could seem trivial to some people but for me it’s a reminder that time passes very quickly, one of the reasons I try to see as many shows as possible. If I can’t slow time down then I have to make the most of what I’ve got.

Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon

This year I was spoiled for choice when it came to quality shows, and seeing as this is my last column of 2014, I’ve got a chance to pick my favourite ones.

My top five favourite productions of 2014:

5)Emma, The Archway Theatre, Horley, June 11.

This sideways look at Emma saw Jane Austen and her nieces act out the manuscript of the classic tale. The play-within-a-play had an irreverent but enjoyable approach and the Archway actors kept the show energetic and fun. Serena Bravery-Rogers (Austen, Mr Knightley), Hannah Elmer (Emma) and Adrian Bailey (Mr Woodhouse, Mr Elton, Robert Martin and Mrs Coles) were particularly strong.

4) The Magistrate, Manor Theatre Group, North Heath Hall, Horsham, April 12.

Dennis Manning, a familiar face in Horsham am-dram productions, offered a wonderfully unhinged performance in Arthur Wing Pinero’s rib-tickling farce.

3) The Devil at Midnight, The Capitol, Horsham, May 30.

A good mystery is full of surprises and this show had plenty. The sinister thriller looked into the consequences of child abuse allegations and chilled in unexpected ways. Starring Corrinne Wicks and Andrew Paul, the play found darkness, not just in its depiction of childhood trauma, but in the questions it raised about the state’s intrusion into family life.

2) Miss Saigon, Ariel, The Capitol, Horsham, March 12.

The hard-working teens from Ariel created pure magic with their version of this popular show. Extraordinarily professional and utterly engrossing, Miss Saigon offered everything audiences could want from a musical with first-rate performances from Will Carey and Tara Lucas.

1) Sweeney Todd, Horsham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, The Capitol, Horsham, April 9.

HAODS went down a rather dark path for their first musical of 2014 but this unusual choice paid off big time with standing ovations and rave reviews.

Andrew Donovan found his own take on the Demon Barber, portraying a man turned savage by the injustices he has suffered.

The rest of the cast offered intense performances too and Sondheim’s music sounded gorgeous thanks to Brian D. Steel and the orchestra.