TOP 10: Best read monstagigz content of 2020 starring Richard Armitage

  1. When Richard Armitage went topless in Uncle Vanya

We were at the 1st preview of this Chekhov adaptation by Conor McPherson and were blissfully unaware it would be closed by COVID-19 in March and be on cinema screens later in the year. The production is shortlisted for 4 monstas awarded 30/12/20.

  • Read on for reasons including the rise of Michael Balogun, the Death of England and Madonna in the West End

2. When we Q&A-ed with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the Killing Eve cast

March’s lockdown meant boxsets suddenly came into their own and we couldn’t have predicted this 2018 BAFTA Q&A with writer Waller-Bridge about her ‘naughty hand’ and cast including Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh and Fiona Shaw would be so widely read.

3. When Michael Balogun stole the show on the National’s re-opening night

Hamilton‘s Giles Terera was initially cast in this sequel to the startlingly original Death Of England which features at 11 on this list. Illness forced him to retire and Balogun gave a blistering 1st preview performance shortlisted for our Best Theatre Actor monsta.

4. When Pantoland at the Palladium closed after 5 nights

There’s no other pantomime quite so spectacular as the Palladium’s and we’ve been to each of the last 5 years since its revival. Who knew that another lockdown would mean this greatest hits mash-up with a variety twist starring the hilarious Julian Clary, Elaine Paige, Beverley Knight, Diversity and Charlie Stemp amongst many others would close just 5 nights into its run?

5. When Andrew Scott Q&A-ed after the 1st preview of Three Kings

The Old Vic’s reluctance to reopen at all since March and emphasis on its In Camera season instead has been a source of frustration to us. Scott is one of theatre’s finest actors and this new play was lovingly filmed but we suspect it was the Q&A afterwards at which Waller-Bridge again was mentioned which commanded most attention here.

6. When Madonna played the Palladium

The Queen of Pop was our number 1 reason to be excited about January 2020 and it was that piece rather than the gig review (10th) which was the more popular with our readers. A case of anticipation outdoing reality? The gig is one of 7 shortlisted for a 2020 monsta and you can vote for it here. Its postponement meant we almost didn’t make it to see it. How glad we were that we did.

7. When Drag Race went West End in Death Drop

Pantoland wasn’t the only show which suffered premature curtain down in December and although we suspect we’ve yet to see star/author Holly Stars’ best work (she’s a real star in the making) Death Drop at the Garrick Theatre was a laugh riot if overlong Dragatha Christie-inspired West End turn.

8. When Jesus Christ Superstar returned to Regent’s Park

When COVID-19 closed theatres in March it was impossible to know when they would reopen but our 1st live theatre since then was this triumphant socially distanced production of the Lloyd Webber/Rice classic at one of our favourite outdoor venues. We said: ‘This has been an entertaining reminder of how good theatre can be at a time when it has been missing from our lives for too long.’ And we meant every word.

9. When Colin Morgan played A Number of roles

Morgan (Translations, National Theatre, All My Sons, Old Vic) is 1 of our most popular actors and here at the Bridge he played multiple roles in Churchill’s haunting one-act revival which we tipped for Broadway.

  • Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and get in touch in 2020. May your 2021 be all you wish for it. Picture via Facebook courtesy Uncle Vanya
  • Enjoyed our best read list? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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