2022 Year in Review: Cheryl Markosky's Best of 2022 - and Picks for 2023!

The most exciting productions in Bath, Salisbury and London's fringe

By: Jan. 01, 2023
2022 Year in Review: Cheryl Markosky's Best of 2022 - and Picks for 2023!
Into The Woods
Photo credit: Marc Brenner

2022 was a stellar year of regional and fringe productions - despite Covid, funding cuts and transport strikes.

One of my favourite theatrical moments of the year at Theatre Royal Bath was Into the Woods: a trippy version of Stephen Sondheim's musical, thanks to Terry Gilliam's surreal Monty Python-esque imagination. This mind-bending show deserves space in the West End soon.

I also loved Dido and Aeneas, produced in cooperation with the Royal Opera House. Artistic director Deborah Warner knocked it out of the park with the Ustinov Studio's first opera: an intimate close-up recital of Henry Purcell's work, with only eight singers and a string quartet (plus harpsichord). Soprano Ella Taylor stole the show.

Warner wowed us again with a double bill of Benjamin Britten's Phaedra and choreographer Kim Brandstrup's new ballet Minotaur. Dancer/avid rock climber Tommy Franzen's daring climbing wall dance steps were utterly breathtaking.

2022 Year in Review: Cheryl Markosky's Best of 2022 - and Picks for 2023!
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Meanwhile over at Salisbury Playhouse, I adored Ian Hislop and Nick Newman's new play, Spike, a tribute to Spike Milligan and the early days of BBC radio comedy. Fast-paced, beautifully written and slickly produced, this was theatre at its best.

On the London fringe at Riverside Studios, I guffawed all the way through Ian Hallard's new comedy, Horse-Play. Gay couple Tom and Tim decide to spend an evening with a hunky male escort in a dungeon to spice up their love life. What can possibly go wrong? Well, plenty. And a lot went right, too, with this witty new work about how to keep that flame flickering.

A shout-out also to Opera Holland Park for bringing us lesser-known works alongside blockbuster hits. In a double bill of Frederick Delius's Margot La Rouge and Giacomo Puccini's Le Villi, the latter certainly stood out. A moody Gothic tale where fairy-sprites dance the traitor Roberto to his death. I came away feeling elated that the dastardly protagonist got his comeuppance.

All of which gives me great faith in the resilience and boundless creativity in both regional theatre and London's fringe venues. As for 2023, these are the five productions I'm most looking forward to seeing.

1. Brief Encounter, Salisbury Playhouse

Having experienced the impressive vision of Emma Rice in the past, her adaptation of this weepy railway romance is just the ticket.

2022 Year in Review: Cheryl Markosky's Best of 2022 - and Picks for 2023! 2. Roman Holiday, Theatre Royal Bath

Who's going to be the new Audrey Hepburn? Casting details TBC! Another iconic film brought to the stage.

3. The Score, Theatre Royal Bath

Brian Cox is taking a break from beating up his children in Succession by playing JS Bach in this world premiere directed by Trevor Nunn.

4. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Theatre Royal Bath

Elizabeth McGovern and Dougray Scott do battle in this blistering marital portrait. Lawyers at the ready...

5. Winnie the Pooh, Riverside Studios

Family theatre came roaring back last year, and continues with this new musical adaptation. Buy Meet and Greet Seats and get your photo taken with Pooh after the show.

What shows are you excited to see in 2023? Let us know at @BroadwayWorldUK - and get booking!