AWARDS: MONSTAS: Our best new play of 2018 so far

We awarded 13 monstas for the best pop, theatre, TV and film of 2017 in December – and here we look at the cream of 2018 so far and what’s to come. Oddshaped Balls and The Ferryman are previous winners in this category.

  • Read on for our top 6 best new plays of 2018 so far and our hopes for the next half year

It’s been a strong start to the year for the Bush Theatre and Bridge Theatre which each have two productions in this top 6. It includes:

The B*easts at the Bush Theatre

Monica Dolan’s monologue about a child receiving breast implants was deservedly shortlisted for an Olivier Award it didn’t win in April. We said: ‘What’s unexpected are the tears Dolan’s character begins to shed as she recounts the tale, interrupted only by her vaping habit and increasingly frantic calls to a mobile hilariously blaring out the Cagney and Lacey theme tune.’ Review

The Inheritance (pictured) at the Young Vic

Stephen Daldry directed this Matthew Lopez-penned two-parter which had us in tears as we fled Part 1 only to bump into Part 2’s star, Vanessa Redgrave, outside the theatre. We said: ‘(We) … were left in unexpected tears at the moving end of a wildly ambitious and uproarious Part 1 that contains some of the best new writing we’ve seen in any theatre this year.’ Transfers into the West End at the Noel Coward Theatre in September. Review

Misty at the Bush Theatre

Author and star Arinze Kene featured in our favourite film of 2016. Misty is an ambitious piece of gig theatre which cemented the Bush Theatre’s reputation in our hearts as the place to visit for exceptional new writing. We said: ‘There are some very memorable lines of dialogue too: ‘But us blood cells don’t watch bearded men in leotards, Thank you very much but fuck Shakespeare, This is where I grew up, The other day I was on the bus, and I missed my stop, I did not recognise it.’ Review

My Name Is Lucy Barton at the Bridge Theatre

This is very fresh in our minds after we saw Laura Linney’s UK stage debut directed by Richard Eyre at the weekend. Runs until 24/6. Tickets. We said: ‘The qualities that brought her to our attention there (Tales Of The City) – an open-hearted warmth and honesty which can sometimes also encompass naivety – are very much in place here. Review

Nightfall at the Bridge Theatre

We weren’t expecting much of this Barney Norris play set on a Hampshire farm at a venue that seemed too big for it. But we enjoyed it so much that it spurred us to buy Norris’ novel Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain. There’s an authenticity about his work that we enjoyed and Sion Daniel Young’s unspoken longing for the character played by Ukweli Roach was hard to forget.

The Phlebotomist at the Hampstead Theatre (Downstairs)

You won’t find a review of this on our site because we only caught Ella Road’s debut play on its final matinee. It’s the story of a future where our genetics dictate the opportunities available to us and it was imaginatively directed by Sam Yates with a killer central performance by 1 of our favourite actresses, 2016 monsta winner Jade Anouka. We’d love to see it reach a wider audience.

What’s on our must-see list for the rest of the year? A Monster Calls at the Old Vic, Allelujah (Alan Bennett) and A Very Dark Matter (Martin McDonagh) at the Bridge, Height Of The Storm (Florian Zeller) at the Wyndham’s and Home I’m Darling at the National.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy The Inheritance. Tickets for the West End run of The Inheritance at the Noel Coward Theatre from September 2018
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