How do I describe this year? In numbers we had 40 reviewers who between them reviewed over 550 productions. We had to turn down numerous invitations because we were unable to cover. Twitter and Facebook have continued to grow month by month and this site was visited by 430,500 people – just under half a million visits.
We launched the Aurora Award for Rising Stars and the first ever winners were Bobby Hirston for his role in The Play That Goes Wrong on tour and Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss for the wonderful Six the Musical – a show I can not wait to see again in January.
Our reviewers have enjoyed many varied productions, Dawn (Yorkshire Region) said “Looking back in 2018 I have reviewed and seen an abundance of shows in Yorkshire and the majority I’ve loved and enjoyed. Two shows that stood out for me must be Titanic The Musical and The Last Ship. Both musicals have a nautical and maritime theme but couldn’t be anymore different. What they have in common is the celebration of humanity shown in poignant and extraordinary circumstances.
Titanic The Musical – Everyone knows the tragedy of the RMS Titanic and the loss of many souls. The musical doesn’t focus on the factual narrative but on the characters on board. Like you and me they have dreamed, hoped and aspired for more and better even if they didn’t know at the the ship’s fate. Maury Yestin‘s moving musical composition and lyrics fits perfectly with the characters’ livelihoods off and on board. This is backed with David Woodhead‘s stunning staging which feels like one physically belongs to a massive ship.
The Last Ship – Sting‘s musical came to Yorkshire during its national tour and I had the opportunity to see and review it in Leeds and York. It looks back on the ship building community in a Tyne and Wear town in the 1970s during the industry’s decline. It primarily focuses on the town’s community whose primary industrial activity was shipbuilding and through the eyes of Gideon Fletcher (Richard Fleeshman). The community fights to save not just the industry and jobs but their livelihoods. They are very determined to see the last ship built and sail away. With Sting’s soul stirring and moving and music The Last Ship was definitely a memorable show in 2018.”
For Catherine, Alex and Claire (London/South) Bat Out of Hell topped the list. Alex said “anything that awakens your inner rock chick deserves 5 stars”, although Claire was rather more succinct when she described it as “a theatrical orgasm that will leave you gasping for air and begging for more”
I look forward to 2019 for more fabulous productions, visiting more beautiful venues, to hopefully making more friends and meeting new reviewers.