8. Bury The Dead
Irwin Shaw’s play, revived to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War 1, was magnificently revived at the Finborough. A play about soldiers who ‘refuse’ to die. It highlights the human waste of war – dreams unfulfilled, relationships destroyed, lives cut off in their prime. Both devastating and thought provoking. A Finborough triumph.
A super revival of Aimee Stuart’s play about Scottish conservatism in 1930s – and how a woman (Jeannie) emerges triumphant. A triumph of a play for director Nicolette Kay and Mairi Hawthorn (Jeannie). A play that remains as resonant today as it did in 1936. Performed at Finborough Theatre in London.
A winning play from David Haig, based around meteorologist Doctor James Stagg (Haig himself) who is asked by the high command of the Allied Expeditionary Forces to assess whether the weather will be good enough for the D-Day landings in 1944. A pressure cooker of a play. Magnificent.
5. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
A thrilling, sensational play – embracing music, polygamy, sex, humour and tragedy. A triumph for the Arcola Theatre. Patrice Naiambana is a marvellous Baba Segi – a giant of a man who has an insatiable appetite for the good things in life.
4. Height of the Storm
Another masterpiece from the pen of Florian Zeller. A play that flits between reality and the world as seen through the eyes and mind of Andre (stricken with Alzheimer’s). Moving and sensitive, expertly acted by Jonathan Pryce (Andre) and Eileen Atkins (who plays his devoted wife). Seen at the Richmond Theatre before making a successful transfer to the West End.
3. The Birthday Party
Harold Pinter writing at its best, supported by a stellar cast (Zoe Wanamaker, Toby Jones and a vicious and venomous Stephen Mangan).
2. Glengarry Glen Ross
David Mamet’s play about a group of salesmen who would gladly sell their soul to the devil for a fat pay check was a winner at the Playhouse Theatre in London. Sensational performances from Stanley Townsend (a downtrodden Shelly Levene) and Christian Slater (an abrasive Ricky Roma).
1. The Lehman Trilogy
A masterful production from the National Theatre. An epic play that covers the journey of the Lehmans from theirs first steps on United States soil in 1844 (Hayum Lehman) to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008. Masterfully directed by Sam Mendes.