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
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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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THEATRE REVIEW: Pantoland at the Palladium starring Julian Clary, Beverley Knight, Elaine Paige & Diversity

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHEN?: 12/12/20, runs to 3/1/21 RUNTIME: 135 minutes (including 30-minute interval)

WHERE?: London Palladium UPDATE: Lockdown means this production closed early with its last performance  15/12/20

We’ve never seen Julian Clary cry before but at the standing ovation when this socially distanced production is so rapturously received at its 1st official preview he appears to be on the verge of tears.

  • Read on for reasons including why this production is a triumph in this pandemic year

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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for December 2020 starring Palladium pantomime

  1. Palladium pantomime starring Julian Clary and Beverley Knight

Pantomime at Christmas looked for a while like it might not happen but this seasonal showstopper returns with a familiar cast including star Julian Clary 12/12/20 to 3/1/21 Tickets We’ve seen it ever since it started in 2016 and it’s essentially a variety show with something for everyone. Here’s what we said in 2017, 2018 and last year.

  • Read on for reasons including Death Drop, Cinderella by Jodie Prenger and Ma Rainey
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PANTOMIME REVIEW: Goldilocks at the Palladium starring Julian Clary and Paul O’Grady

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

WHERE? London Palladium RUNTIME: 180 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)

WHEN? 28/12, runs to 12/1/20

We’ve seen the Palladium pantomime in each of the last four years since it returned to this iconic venue after a break of more than three decades.

  • Read on for reasons including how Clary gently encourages O’Grady to take part again next year

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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for January (2020) starring Madonna

  1. Madonna brings Madame X to the London Palladium

2019’s Madame X collection made our Album of 2019 shortlist and was Madonna’s best since 2005’s Confessions. We were at her last London gig at The 02 in 2015 and are looking forward to the shift from arenas to theatres for this 15-gig run. Tickets The tour opened in the US in the autumn and, despite the late starts, promises much. We’re just glad we don’t have to be up early after what is shaping up to be a late night albeit in thrall to the Queen of Pop.

  • Read on for reasons including new Pet Shop Boys album, Richard Armitage’s West End return and VAULT Festival

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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

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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for October 2019 starring Shakespears Sister

  1. Shakespears Sister Ride Again tour saddles up at the Palladium

This unlikely reunion may have been over a quarter of a century in the making but Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit have released three excellent, different yet complementary singles this year already, winning both our Song and Albums of the month. The 14-date UK reunion tour kicks off rather appropriately on Halloween and we join the band at the Palladium on Bonfire Night. Tickets

  • Read on for reasons including Dear Evan Hansen, Lungs, Cher and Mary Poppins

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Singles Party by Shakespears Sister (July 2019)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

OUT: now

TRACKLIST: Break My Heart; Heroine; You’re History; Run Silent; Dirty Mind; Stay; I Don’t Care; Goodbye Cruel World; Hello; My 16th Apology; I Can Drive; Bitter Pill; Pulsatron; Bad Blood; It’s A Trip; All The Queen’s Horses; C U Next Tuesday; Stay (Acoustic)

In their heyday Shakespears Sister supported Prince and headlined Glastonbury but their 15 minutes of fame was over far too early.

  • Read on for reasons including where to hear new songs All The Queen’s Horses and C U Next Tuesday

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