Friday, 31 December 2021

Pocket Picks: Best Shows of 2021

Here at Pocket Size Theatre, we are lucky enough to see some wonderful shows; some entertaining, some mindblowing, some beautiful and even some life-changing. We've accumulated a list of our top-rated shows from 2021, what a year it's been! Take a look at our list and start thinking of your theatrical highlights and share them with us on Twitter! @PocketSizeBlog

A quick note, even though these are our top shows of the year, we applaud and would like to congratulate every single person involved in putting on ANY show this year. It's been another tough year for our industry and anyone who provides entertainment and live theatre is a hero. You're amazing! 

"Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s choreography is slick and on and there are no words for how marvellous Gabriella Slade’s out of this world costumes are. The musical is aimed at a younger audience; with bright lights, confetti, glittery outfits and modern references- which makes you feel like you’re seeing a girl band live rather than sat in a history lesson. The best of both worlds! The Queens are sarcastic and feisty in their comic delivery, and SIX has that kind of self-awareness that holds onto the element of intimacy that I would imagine wowed the very first audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe 4 years ago."

"They have the perfect recipe to appeal to and entertain any member of the public. I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t smile at least once throughout a Mischief Comedy production. If you are looking to escape the challenges of reality for a few hours, then rush to buy a ticket for this show. Treat yourself to an evening of truly joyous tomfoolery and talent; I can assure you; you won’t regret this magical treat!"

"If you, like me, are a fan of the Global icon and Country Superstar Dolly Parton you will be in love with this musical from the first bar, if you’re not you couldn’t help but be swept away with this joyful tale of friendship and sisterhood. If I could give this show a 6th star, I happily would!"

"Overall the show is chaotic but in the best possible way. Sometimes it is rushed, sometimes a joke isn’t perfect - but it doesn’t matter, because it never stops being fun for a second. I couldn’t give it less than five stars because I didn’t once stop smiling or wonder what time it was - from start to finish, theirs was a telling I was more than happy to be caught up in. McArthur’s take on the classic never fails to surprise, pulling un-predictably comic moments out of every reference, character, and trope on offer. This is a wonderful show to go see to have a really great laugh and leave with a big smile on your face - Pride and Prejudice fan or not!"

"While many Commercial Producers have highlighted the damage to Live Theatre of the pandemic and the restrictions imposed, the Producers of this show have pulled out all the stops and created the uplifting show that we need that must surely encourage the reticent to venture back into the theatre. It's the Top, it's De-lovely and you will get a kick out of it, all through the night."

"Directed by Lucy Bailey, the space lends itself to be used in many ways, with entrance points all around the theatre. The transitions are slick and the set (designed by William Dudley) is simple but effective. The cast kept the pace quick and easy to follow, with twists and turns to deceive us throughout. There was a minor contrast between the serious acting of Jonathan Firth as Defence Barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts and the more caricatured female characters, although every performance was strong and kept the audience gripped from start to finish."

"This extraordinary dance musical feels like a real team effort with each part of the creative team adding to the overall effect to create wonderful pictures which are a perfect platform for an ensemble cast of fourteen to deliver with energy, enthusiasm, and skill the routines and comedy for a magical night. There is no doubt it is worth the effort of the drive along with the M4 to Sonning before 8th January for a family outing to catch this marvellous show and in case you missed it why not catch Anything Goes at the cinema on 28th November or 1st December to see two classic 1930’s musical revivals as a Christmas treat."

"With cameos from well-known aliens, and even more well-known faces and voices, this production is a real treat for any Whovian. Every performer was engaging and engrossing, but another special mention has to go to Tyler and Corbin for their enthralling performances. Rebecca Brower’s production design is intricate and skilled. She expertly pulls inspiration from across the ‘Whoniverse’ and, together with Art Director Ryan O’Conner, and Associate Designer Hannah Postlethwaite, created a fully immersive and meticulous world for us to inhabit."

"For me, this show is a tribute to those we have lost, unforgettable memories, and the good times that are still to come. A reminder that home isn’t about materialistic or physical qualities, but those you go to in moments of crisis. This show is the perfect reminder to each and every one of us, that no matter what the world throws at us, we are strongest when we are together."

"...there’s nothing other than a rapturous feeling from start to finish. A complete joy to witness, not a second passes in which you’re not doubled over laughing until your stomach aches. Mischief Theatre has continued to tour globally with success after success but this, where it all started continues to bring in new audiences daily. A testament to mischiefs creators Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields popularity and writing abilities."

"...the whole theatre come to life as the rock and roll musical belted through its famous tunes. The company and the band truly got to let their hair down and rock out with the packed audience during the finale in a whirlwind megamix where we were released from the rules of respectfully not singing along to our favourite songs!"

"We hear her reason and bargain as she battles with her compulsion to scratch the surface of her skin, a vein (pardon the pun) attempt at finding the relief she desperately needs. Telling this story by turning the thoughts inside out and placing the unnerving disquiet of her mind onto the stage, gives integrity to the subject matter and empathy into the hearts of the audience. It is an immersive and experiential testament to a woman living in a patriotic world and it is a poetic tale of the divided mind and PTSD bought about by trauma."

"This piece succeeds where so many shows fail. It explores an extremely difficult subject beautifully, sensitively and accurately. Made for theatre, its nonlinear physical storytelling, spitfire dialogue and unselfconscious performances is a gift to audiences."

"Set in a pre-covid time, Shedding a Skin reminds us of the importance of community and inspires you to reach out to neighbours and locals- who knows, you might even strike up an unlikely friendship with a 90-year old activist! There is a sense of togetherness, and Wilkin’s infectious laughter makes it feel like you are chatting with a friend as she opens up and finds acceptance within herself. Rosanne Vize’s set sheds layers and explores new spaces from the moment it starts to the very end."

"Xenos is poignant and textured; Khan’s performance is all-encompassing in its depth. You can almost feel the dirt on his skin, the stones under his feet and the ropes bound around his body. He is certainly one of the greatest choreographers of our time, I would highly recommend going to see one of the performances in the Carnival of Shadows."

" was a wonderful evening at the theatre. I must admit after recently watching programmes such as ‘It’s a Sin’ and plays such as ‘Angels in America’ and ‘The Inheritance’, I didn’t know what other perspectives there were out there on the AIDS crisis. Like Jack at the beginning, this point of view was very naive. By viewing the eighties characters through the lens of Jack the piece becomes automatically modern and feels incredibly urgent. As Holden finishes the piece by pointing out the correlation between the covid virus and HIV, one can’t help but feel very moved. It reminds us to respect our elders, the gatekeepers who came before us. The timing feels particularly poignant as we enter into a new phase or chapter in our lives. Like Jack, I hope we can adopt more nuanced gratitude of what it is to be a survivor post-virus."

"Every act is billed with a superlative, but each exceeds the anticipation with their speed, agility, grace and daring. This wonderfully presented show has a fine balance between comedy magic and astonishing feats of acrobatics and as the world cowers in fear of Covid, this is one show that says take a risk and get the most out of life, its time to be brave and return to having fun. And the South Bank with its spacious foyers, good legroom and car parks nearby feels a safe place to start."

"The capacity of this event is strictly limited due to COVID safely regulations, however, this works in its favour. Smaller crowds than what you might normally find in a theatre or exhibition allows for a far more intimate relationship with the work to develop. Mathew’s asks the question “How can we experience dance instead of watching dance?” all I can say to that is visit my body’s an exhibition baby and you will begin to understand how."

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