2013 Year In Review: Carrie Dunn's Best And Worst Of Theatre
So, another busy year in the West End - and a busy year for BWW:UK.
I've been the editor-in-chief of BWW:UK for nearly five years now, working closely with our US newdesk (and dealing with that inconvenient time difference), and overseeing our ever-expanding reviewing squad (as well as our London writers, we also have a team at the Edinburgh Festival every year, and regional reviewers in cities around the UK including Glasgow, Birmingham, Sheffield and Bristol).
This year I've had the pleasure of interviewing a huge range of theatre stars - including (deep breath) Russell Watson, Sharon D Clarke, Josefina Gabrielle, Alexander Hanson, Denise Black, Ben Forster, Don Black, Charlotte Wakefield, Scott Garnham, Simon Bailey, John Gordon Sinclair, David Oakes, Debbie Kurup, Beverley Callard, Betty Buckley, Gillian Lynne, John Partridge and John Owen Jones. It's always terrific to get an insight into people's experiences of putting shows together and their own views on the business.
And, in a similar vein, I've been delighted at the success of the 2013 BWW:UK Awards - all nominated and voted for entirely by readers. We had record numbers of nominations, meaning we created some new categories to ensure that readers' thoughts were recognised - and then we had record numbers of votes as we recognised the achievements of shows including The Book of Mormon, Once, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I'm already excited for next year.
As for theatre-going, there are certain shows that I'll remember. I really enjoyed seeing A Chorus Line return to the West End - the UK tour back in 1997 was one of the first musicals I ever saw so I have a soft spot for it. I saw From Here To Eternity twice in the space of six weeks, having interviewed leading man Robert Lonsdale in between, and was amazed to see the difference that a few judicious cuts had made in the clarity of storytelling; I enjoyed it the first time, and enjoyed it even more the second time.
And The Gruffalo came back to the Lyric Theatre for the Christmas season - and I got the chance to take my toddler nephew to his first-ever West End show. Seeing him watch the show reminded me - because sometimes it's easy to forget - just how powerful and compelling Live Theatre can be, even for a slightly tired, always fidgety three-year-old, who sat (well, stood, leaning on the chairs in front), chin in hand, enthralled.
See you in 2014!