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2017: Best shows from around the UK

Abraham Popoola in Othello at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol. Photo: The Other Richard Abraham Popoola in Othello at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol. Photo: The Other Richard
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We asked our critics across the UK to pick their favourite production of the past 12 months


The Cherry Orchard – Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Simon Armstrong and Hedydd Dylan in the Cherry Orchard at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. Photo: Mark Douet
Simon Armstrong and Hedydd Dylan in the Cherry Orchard at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. Photo: Mark Douet

“More success for playwright Gary Owen and director Rachel O’Riordan, this raw version of Chekhov resituates the estate to Pembrokeshire during the Thatcher years.”  Rosemary Waugh

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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Octagon, Bolton

Phoebe Pryce and Michael Peavoy in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall at Octagon Theatre, Bolton. Photo: Richard Davenport

“Elizabeth Newman’s evocative production brought Anne Bronte’s proto-feminist story of flawed menfolk and the women left bobbing in their wake vividly to life. Thanks to some stellar design work from the creative team, the play’s haunting Yorkshire moorland setting almost became a character in its own right.” Chris Bartlett

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Betrayal – Derby Theatre

Kemi Bo-Jacobs and Philip Correia in Betrayal at Derby Theatre. Photo: Robert Day
Kemi Bo-Jacobs and Philip Correia in Betrayal at Derby Theatre. Photo: Robert Day

“Lekan Lawal was deservedly named best director at The Stage Debut Awards, for his production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal at Derby Theatre in March. It was a magnificent piece of theatre, a perfect marriage of the visual and the verbal.” Pat Ashworth

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Othello – Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Norah Lopez Holden and Abraham Popoola in Othello at Tobacco Factory, Bristol

“A dynamic approach to Shakespeare’s cruellest play that saw recent RADA graduate Abraham Popoola, in the title role, win best actor at the inaugural The Stage Debut Awards.” Jeremy Brien

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Death of a Salesman – Dundee Rep

Billy Mack won best male performance award at the 2017 CATS for his performance as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman at Dundee Rep. Photo: Jane Hobson

“When Billy Mack emerged as if he were a cadaver being resurrected from the grave, into the dark soil strewn across the set back in March, you knew that director Joe Douglas had something very special to offer.” Thom Dibdin

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Red – Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Patrick O’Kane and Thomas Finnegan in Red at Lyric Theatre, Belfast

“There’s no contest for the best of 2017 in Northern Ireland. Prime Cut and the Lyric’s co-production of John Logan’s Red, directed by Emma Jordan, is a thrilling piece of work with Patrick O’Kane’s imperious Rothko and Thomas Finnegan’s agitated apprentice.”  Jane Coyle

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All We Ever Wanted Was Everything – Roundabout, Edinburgh

Marc Graham in All We Ever Wanted Was Everything review at the Welly Club, Hull. Photo: Sarah Beth
Marc Graham in All We Ever Wanted Was Everything. Photo: Sarah Beth

“Middle Child Theatre’s anarchic, apocalyptic, time-hopping gig-theatre show, written by Luke Barnes and directed by Paul Smith, told the story of two unhappy Hullensian millennials, bridging the class divide and skipping from 1987 to 2017 in a whirlwind of pop songs and politics, defining a generation as it did so, with a magnetic performance from Marc Graham at its heart.” Fergus Morgan

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Fiddler on the Roof – Everyman Theatre, Liverpool

Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo: Stephen Vaughan
Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo: Stephen Vaughan

“Vividly staged with extraordinary arrangements for a small klezmer band, and the choreography was outstanding.” Nigel Smith

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