TOP 6: Best read monstagigz content of 2019 starring Sheridan Smith

  1. When Sheridan Smith stole the show in Joseph at the Palladium 

Thank you to our tens of thousands of readers who drove up our traffic by more than 12 per cent in 2019 and welcome to a top six of the most popular content of the year.

Sheridan Smith won our Best Theatre Actress monsta in 2015 and here stole the show in Lloyd Webber’s Palladium revival of one of his biggest hits. We said in our review: ‘We know we’re in safe hands when the always reliable Sheridan Smith channels Eric Morecambe from behind a fake moustache, confiding to the audience: ‘It’s still me.’ It was such a success that it returns to the Palladium for a second run next summer. Tickets

  • Read on for reasons including what Carrie Hope Fletcher did next and the return of Dame Maggie Smith

2. When Michael Ball and Alfie Boe reunited for Les Miserables: The Staged Concert

Are Staged Concerts of musicals the future? A star-studded cast including Ball, Boe, Matt Lucas and Carrie Hope Fletcher, who featured in this list last year in Heathers, joined forces during this run at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre. We said in our review: ‘Other members of our party joined the standing ovation with whoops of delight and, while this was a show we very much enjoyed, we think we would have preferred to have seen the original musical in its entirety.’

3. When The Night Of The Iguana starred Lia Williams, Clive Owen and Breaking Bad‘s Anna Gunn

London’s West End Noel Coward Theatre boasted our third most popular content in 2018  and so it proved again this year. A raunchy full-frontal revival of a Tennessee Williams classic topped our 2017 best-read list and this less controversial interpretation was still memorable. We said in our review: ‘The Night Of The Iguana was Williams’ last real hit and takes place in 1940 on the Mexican hotel verandah where a defrocked priest-turned-tourist-guide seeks shelter with the grieving widow who runs the establishment as she debates whether to take in an ailing 97-year-old poet and his artist granddaughter.’

4. When James McAvoy fought rap battles as Cyrano de Bergerac

Jamie Lloyd’s reimagining of Dr Faustus starring a bottom-bearing Kit Harington made our runner-up slot in our 2016 list and Lloyd’s Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre was just outside the top six this year. James McAvoy won our Best Theatre Actor monsta in 2015 and followed up that performance with a starring role in this production. We said in our review: ‘McAvoy’s Cyrano de Bergerac might not have filled our nostrils with pleasure but it will be clearly like catnip to others.’ Runs to 29/2/20. Tickets

5. When Dame Maggie Smith returned in A German Life

The Bridge hosted our most popular content of last year and features in the final two positions on 2019’s list. Smith made her first appearance on a London stage in 12 years and challenged herself with a 100-minute monologue. We said in our review: ‘A German Life is a timely play in an era of fake news and the rise of the right that possesses the power to shock. As we leave we notice that Dustin Hoffman is in the audience proving that Smith was not the only double Oscar winner at the Bridge tonight.’

6. When Game Of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie took on A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Director Nicholas Hytner had established his credentials for successful theatrical immersion at this venue with a triumphant Julius Caesar but not even that could prepare us for how much fun it would be in the pit here. We said in our review: ‘By the end the pit audience was dancing around the stage, hand in hand with strangers, to Florence and the Machine in a flurry of ticker tape as a Glastonbury Festival vibe enveloped the venue.’

  • Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and get in touch in 2019. May your 2020 be all you wish for it. Picture via Facebook courtesy Joseph
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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