AWARDS: MONSTAS: Our best new musical 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. Funny Girl, Groundhog Day and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie are previous winners in this category.

  • Read on for our top 5 best musicals of 2018 so far and our hopes for the next half year

Bat Out Of Hell, Dominion

This Jim Steinman musical is not shy of spectacle and its grandiose story is more than matched by the score which does not only draw on Meatloaf’s best-loved album. We said: ‘We’d forgotten how good a song Dead Ringer For Love was, loved that this is a show bringing in a different kind of crowd to a West End musical and had a much more fun time here than we thought we would.’ Review Tickets

Brief Encounter, Empire Cinema Haymarket

Emma Rice fell out of favour at the Globe and here returns with a lovingly recreated revival of her greatest hit. We said: ‘At 95 minutes without interval, this is a wildly inventive, visual and aural joy from start to finish.’ Review Tickets

Caroline, Or Change, Hampstead Theatre

Sharon D. Clarke is one of UK musical theatre’s most consistent performers and here she excels as the proud and stubborn housekeeper who refuses to accept the financial gifts from the young boy in the family she works for in 60s America. We said: ‘There are big themes here about racial subjugation and change and they are absolutely not ducked as we get to know Caroline’s family and walk in their shoes.’ Review It transfers to the West End this winter. Don’t miss. Tickets

The Rink, Southwark Playhouse

Kander and Ebb have written better musicals than this tale of a mother and daughter sparring over the future of an 80s rollerskating rink they co-own but this production at Southwark Playhouse is cast brilliantly and there’s much fun and love to enjoy. We said: ‘Get your skates on if you want a ticket because The Rink has a limited run in this studio venue and goodwill for this fine production is picking up speed.’ ReviewTickets

Strictly Ballroom, Piccadilly Theatre

This stage reimagining of the much-loved Baz Luhrmann film wasn’t greeted with quite the affection we predicted but we loved it from start to finish. We said: ‘The film’s success was about the universality of dancing your own steps, being true to one’s self and not living in fear, and that message runs through all we see here’ Review Tickets

On our radar for the next 6 months are Heathers (Other Palace), Fun/Home (Young Vic), Little Shop Of Horrors (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Sylvia (Old Vic), Company (Gielgud Theatre), Porgy and Bess (Coliseum) and The Band (Theatre Royal Haymarket).

  • Picture by Johan Persson via Facebook courtesy Strictly Ballroom – the musical.
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