Best of 2010

Theatre: Shakespeare

1. Romeo and Juliet (RSC).

2. King Lear (RSC).

3. As You Like It (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

4. Measure for Measure (Almeida).

5. The Winter’s Tale (RSC/Roundhouse).

6. Henry IV part 2 (Globe).

7. Macbeth (Globe).

8. Antony and Cleopatra (RSC).

9. Antony and Cleopatra (Liverpool Playhouse).

10. Hamlet (The Crucible, Sheffield).

11. King Lear (Donmar).

12. Henry VIII (The Globe).

13. The Tempest (Old Vic).

14. As You Like It (Old Vic)

15. Macbeth (Belt Up/York Theatre Royal).

Theatre: Not Shakespeare

1. Jerusalem (Apollo).

2. After the Dance (National).

3. An Enemy of the People (Sheffield Crucible).

4. Women Beware Women (National).

5. London Assurance (National).

6. Enron (Theatre Royal, Newcastle)

7. The Habit of Art (National Theatre).

8. Corrie! (Lowry, Salford)

9. The Real Thing (Old Vic).

10. Canterbury Tales (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Northern Broadsides).

11. La Bete (Comedy Theatre).

12. Death of a Salesman (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

13. Three Sisters (Lyric, Hammersmith).

14. The Misanthrope (Comedy Theatre)

15. Beating Berlusconi. (York Theatre Royal).



1. Gauguin (Tate Modern).

2. Van Gogh (Royal Academy).

3. Renaissance drawings (The British Museum).

4. The Book of the Dead (British Museum).

5. Venice. Canaletto and his rivals. (The National Gallery).

6. Sargent and the Sea (Royal Academy).

7. Rude Britannia (Tate Britain).

8. Summer Show (Royal Academy).

9. Beatles to Bowie (National Portrait Gallery).

10. Chris Ofili (Tate Britain).



1. Andrea Levy The Long Song.

2. Hilary Mantel – Wolf Hall.

3. AS Byatt – The Children’s Book.

4. Rose Tremain – Trespass.

5. Colm Toibin Brooklyn.

6. Ian McEwan  Solar.

7. Paul Magrs Diary of a Doctor Who Addict.

8. Tony Blair The Journey.

9. Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took My Dog.

10. Alexander McCall Smith The Double Comfort Safari Club.


1. Coronation Street –  especially for Jack’s Death and the Live episode (ITV).

3. Ashes to Ashes (BBC1).

4. Doctor Who – The End of Time part 2 (BBC1).

5. Doctor Who – especially for the eleventh hour (BBC1).

6. Downton Abbey (ITV1)

7. I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here (ITV1).

8. Macbeth (BBC 4).

9. Luther (BBC1).

10. Silent Witness (BBC 1).

and my guilty pleasure of the year

Peter Kay at the Studio, Lowry (and again at the Manchester Evening News Arena).

Women Beware Women (National Theatre, 5th June 2010)

Marianne Elliott is a really thoughtful director who considers very carefully the aesthetic of a production.  I felt that she has done a really good job with  Middleton’s macabre  Women Beware Women, and her choice of twentieth-century Italian costumes works very well.   Central to the play is the game of chess between Leantio’s mother and Livia.  The game becomes a metaphor for the way characters play each other.  This production brings home the different sexual manipulations in the play  For example, the virgin bride married below her status, the rape by the Duke, the incest between niece and uncle, and the older woman’s lust for a younger man.  Lez Brotherson’s set brings out the contrast between the aristocracy  and working classes, and at the end as it starts to revolve all the elements of the plot are brought together in a stunning finale.  This worked particularly well on the large Olivier stage.

What I found really interesting about this play is that women are the revengers and I thought Harriet Walter is stylish and sinister as Livia.  Lauren O’Neil as Bianco and Vanessa Kirby as Isabella were also very strong.

Reviews and Previews

Women Beware Women in The Observer
Women Beware Women in the Evening Standard
IOS on Women Beware Women
Interview with Marianne Elliott in The Telegraph
Independent on Women Beware Women
Women Beware Women in The Telegraph
The Stage on Women Beware Women