Best read monstagigz content of 2021 starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley

  1. When we saw the 1st preview of Cabaret starring Eddie Redmayne

We were at the 1st preview of Rebecca Frecknall’s reimagining of the Kander and Ebb classic musical starring Redmayne, Jessie Buckley and Omari Douglas in November. The production at the repurposed Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre is shortlisted for 3 monstas in our awards announced 30 December 2021. Cast change expected in March, we return to see it for a 3rd time (it’s that good and this time team monstagigz dining in the front row) in July and booking to 1 October 2022. Tickets

  • Read on for reasons including the London stage debut of Saoirse Ronan, new Bob Marley musical Get Up, Stand Up! and Beverley Knight in The Drifters Girl

2. When Saoirse Ronan made her London theatre stage debut

We were at a preview of The Tragedy Of Macbeth during which acclaimed film star Ronan made her London stage debut opposite James McArdle at the Almeida in October. The production is shortlisted for 2 monstas in our awards announced 30 December 2021. Ronan didn’t quite make the cut although she shone. The production though was so good we can see it transferring into the West End and to Broadway.

3. World premiere of new Bob Marley musical Get Up, Stand Up!

Marley lived in London for a while and we were at a preview of this jukebox musical at the Lyric Theatre starring Arinze Kene in October. It is shortlisted for 4 monstas and Kene is a previous winner of our Best Theatre Actor prize in 2018 for his self-penned and performed monologue Misty. Booking to 17 September 2022. Tickets

4. New Beverley Knight musical The Drifters Girl

Shortlisted for 3 monstas – Best Theatre Actress, Best Performance Of A Song and Best New Musical – we saw a preview of this piece at the Garrick Theatre in November. We think star Knight may be theatre’s greatest current vocalist. Booking to 2 July 2022. Tickets

5. Spring Awakening revived at the Almeida

Another musical, this time an Almeida revival of the Green Day-ish tale of youthful sexuality ruined by parental neglect, that was directed by Rupert Goold who also helmed 2019 film Judy which airs on BBC2 at 9pm on 30 December and for which Renee Zellwegger won an Oscar. Laurie Kynaston stars in this production shortlisted for our Best Revival monsta.

6. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella finally opens

Covid plagued the opening of this production which is currently paused until February. We’ve seen it twice, loved its audience revolve at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (shortlisted for our Best Venue monsta) and it is also up for Best New Musical. Stars Carrie Hope Fletcher and returning 9 February and booking to 29 May 2022.

7. Ella Henderson and Tom Grennan song Let’s Go Home Together

It’s unusual for single reviews to be quite so well read on our site but this Henderson-penned duet was extraordinary. We said: ‘Let’s Go Home Together is the charming tale of an odd couple who don’t appear to have much in common. but after a few drinks find that they are attracted to each other’ and compared it with Fairytale Of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. The words are as cheeky as the amazing Victoria Wood: sample cheeky lyric: ‘I’d never have given you a second look but I like the way you don’t give a … damn.’ And: ‘Even though you talk way too fast, I can’t stop looking at your … eyes.’ We need that 2nd Henderson album – and soon.

8. When we interviewed Dr Robert from The Blow Monkeys

New album Journey To You is shortlisted as Best Album and The Blow Monkeys’ 2021 show at 229 as our Best Gig of 2021. We interviewed Dr Robert in March and looking forward to touring he said: ‘It will be a celebration of just being able to play again. A chance to enjoy the moment again of being back together.’ And he wasn’t wrong.

9. When we caught a preview of new play Camp Siegfried

Olivier Award winner Patsy Ferran is 1 of our favourite actresses and she was cast well with Luke Thallon (Present Laughter, Old Vic) in this production shortlisted for our Best New Play monsta. Bess Wohl’s Camp Siegfried took a peek inside a real-life Nazi camp just outside New York and an awkward friendship that became something more.

10. When Russell Tovey was distracted by an audience member’s ringing phone in Constellations

Tovey dealt with every actor’s nightmare brilliantly in this revival of a tale about multiple realities as a couple meet, fall in love and fall out. Shout out to Omari Douglas who is shortlisted as Best Theatre Actor for this, Best TV/Film Actor for It’s A Sin and starred in the multiple-shortlisted Cabaret. He’s 2021’s breakout star in our view and we saw him 1st in a rehearsal room at the Old Vic ahead of his barnstorming appearance in Wise Children in 2018.

  • Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and get in touch in 2021. May your 2022 be all you wish for it. Picture via Facebook courtesy ATG. Vote in our 7th annual monstas in the 15 links at the end of this article
  • Enjoyed our best read list? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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