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2018: Best theatre shows around the UK

Jessica Hardwick in Knives in Hens at Perth Theatre. Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan Jessica Hardwick in Knives in Hens at Perth Theatre. Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
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We asked our critics across the UK to pick their favourite production of the past 12 months


Knives in Hens – Perth Theatre

“Lu Kemp’s brutal take on David Harrower’s work was one of several great revivals of modern Scottish classics. Kemp brought out a tense and illuminating performance from Jessica Hardwick as the Young Woman, living in a superstitious, pastoral age.” Thom Dibdin

Read the full review of Knives in Hens

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – Kilworth House, Leicestershire

Matthew Jeans and company in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Kilworth House. Photo: Jems Photography
Matthew Jeans and company in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Kilworth House. Photo: Jems Photography

“Director and choreographer Andrew Wright turned the most performed musical in history into a flying circus with his whirlwind choreography and explosive numbers, milking the comedy for all it was worth.” Pat Ashworth

Read the full review of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Random/Generations – Minerva, Chichester Festival Theatre

Petra Letang in Random at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo: Manuel Harlan

“To see the festival programme an intense, sparse, stylistically innovative double bill about the loss of young black lives felt, in itself, like a source of hope. Captivating and devastating.” Bella Todd

Read the full review of Random/Generations

Torch – St Helens

Sarah Morris in Torch in St Helens. Photo: Radka Dolinksa

“Immersive theatre is usually supposed to make the audience forget where they are. This was special because it didn’t transport its viewers away from St Helens but made them see it, and the women who live and have lived there.” Francesa Peschier

Read the full review of Torch

The Last Ship – Northern Stage, Newcastle

The cast of The Last Ship at Northern Stage, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Photo: Pamela Raith
The cast of The Last Ship at Northern Stage, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Photo: Pamela Raith

“Gorgeously staged tale of working- class lives that pulled heartstrings and packed a political punch.” Tracey Sinclair

Read the full review of The Last Ship

Mouthpiece – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Neve McIntosh and Lorn Macdonald in Mouthpiece at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Photo: Roberto Ricciuti

“Orla O’Loughlin’s powerful directorial swansong of her tenure as artistic director rips open the class divide in Edinburgh and across the UK.” David Pollock

Read the full review of Mouthpiece

P-Project – BE Festival at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

P-Project at BE Festival, Birmingham. Photo: Nada Zgank

“Ivo Dimchev’s audacious show used a box containing £1,000 as a dramaturgical instrument, opening up issues around competition, value, public funding for the arts and individual agency.” Ben Kulvichit

Read the full review of the BE Festival

My Romantic History – Live Theatre, Newcastle

Bryony Corrigan and Brian Lonsdale inMy Romantic History at Live Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

“Brian Lonsdale and Bryony Corrigan deliver a masterclass in comic timing.” Chris Collett

Read the full review of My Romantic History

Mother Courage and Her Children – Albion Electric Warehouse, Leeds

Pauline McLynn and Bea Webster in Red Ladder’s Mother Courage and Her Children. Photo: Anthony Robling

“The promenade setting meant the audience were literally following in refugees’ footsteps.” John Murphy

Read the full review of Mother Courage and Her Children

The Last Five Years – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Michael Hamway and Lauren Hood The Last Five Years at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

“D/deaf dancers Raffie Julien and Anthony Snowden worked with singers Lauren Hood and Michael Hamway for a terrific show.” Nicholas Davies

Read the full review of The Last Five Years

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