AWARDS SHORTLIST: MONSTAS: Best Gig of 2020

It’s been quite the year, it’s almost Christmas and what would the festive season be without some recognition of the best of 2020? Over the last month we have shortlisted at least five nominees in each of 14 categories for our Oscars, or monstas if you will, of 2020.

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GIG REVIEW: Divine Comedy at the Barbican

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE?: Barbican RUNTIME: 60 minutes (no interval)

WHEN?: 14/10/20, new Barbican shows planned for 1-5/9/21 (ticket details below)

SETLIST: Absent Friends; Norman and Norma: National Express; Something For The Weekend; Songs Of Love; Your Daddy’s Car; To Die A Virgin; Becoming More Like Alfie; To The Rescue; A Lady Of A Certain Age; Charmed Life; Tonight We Fly; Our Mutual Friend

‘This has been f**king brilliant. I’ve loved it. Good for the soul,’ remarks Divine Comedy frontman Neil Hannon.  ‘Thank you – that’s the end of the tour.’

  • Read on for reasons including how to see them on tour next year

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THEATRE REVIEW: Macbeth starring Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack at the Barbican

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE? Barbican RUN TIME: 2 hours and 33 minutes (including 20-minute interval)

WHEN?: 27/10, runs to 17/11/18

The most striking thing about this modern-day re-imagining of 1 of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays is how the 3 witches become 3 identically-dressed schoolgirls.

  • Read on for reasons including how Doctor Who fans should relish Eccleston’s performance

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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for October

  1. Dame Eileen Atkins in The Height Of The Storm

There’s Nothing Like A Dame and we loved the film of that name which starred Dame Eileen (pictured above) who appears here in this Florian Zeller drama with Jonathan Pryce (Game Of Thrones) at the Wyndhams 2/10 through 1/12. Tickets

  • Read on for reasons including Lady Gaga, Jim Broadbent, Dr Who goes Macbeth and Game Of Thrones in Hampstead

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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for January

  1. Lady Windermere’s Fan opens starring Jennifer Saunders

Kathy Burke (whose The Retreat at the Park Theatre earlier this year was lots of fun) directs Jennifer Saunders in this Oscar Wilde play for Dominic Dromgoole’s Classic Spring theatre company as a follow-up to his delightful A Woman Of No Importance. Runs 12/1 to 7/4 at the Vaudeville Theatre. Tickets

  • Read on for reasons including Ben Whishaw in Julius Caesar and both Julie Walters and Zawe Ashton at the Old Vic

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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for June

  1. Emeli Sandé at Glastonbury

This year will be our fourth Glastonbury in a row and, although there’s far too much to be excited about to list here, we’d probably pick our first Emeli Sandé gig as the thing we’re most enthused by at the sold-out event which runs from 22/6 to 25/6. Katy Perry’s new album Witness is out 9/6 and Lorde’s Melodrama 16/6 and they both also feature.

  • Read on for reasons including Billie Holiday, Jade Anouka & Fisayo Akinade

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MONSTAS SHORTLIST: Theatre actor of the year: 2016

It’s almost Christmas and what would the festive season be without some recognition of the best of 2016? Over the next fortnight we’ll shortlist five nominees in each of 12 categories for our Oscars, or monstas if you will, of 2016.

  • Read on for nominees for the monsta for theatre actor of the year. 2015 winner: James McAvoy (The Ruling Class, Trafalgar Studios)

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THEATRE REVIEW: The Alchemist starring Siobhan McSweeney

WORTH A LOOK?: ***1/2

WHERE: Barbican

WHEN: 16/9, runs to 1/10

When prostitute Dol Common (the excellent Siobhan McSweeney) is winched so she is left hanging from the ceiling (picture above) it doesn’t feel out of place in this re-imagining of a comedy by one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

  • Read on for a hint of the surprise ending that we’ve seen the RSC pull off once before

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