These are Bristol24/7’s favourite shows of 2019:
1. Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of), Bristol Old Vic
“Although the show cleaves closely to the plot of Austen’s prototypical romcom, the style and delivery are a very long way from the comforting, starched formality of a BBC period drama,” enthused our reviewer of Blood of the Young’s offbeat Austen hommage. “There’s singing and there’s swearing, and the whole thing is infused with a very 21st-century-sitcom sensibility.
“If Austen’s ghost was commissioned to write a series of Miranda, this is what the end product would look like. It’s modern, it’s very funny, and yet it’s still completely true to the much-loved classic.”
Review: Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of), Bristol Old Vic
2. Contra (Circus City), Arnolfini
Gracing this year’s Circus City, Contra by Bristol performer Laura Murphy “blended stand-up, performance art, circus, and naked Irish dance (…) part personal monologue, part biology lesson, and part sharp critique on how the female body is objectified, controlled, fetishised by society. It’s hilarious – and damning.”
Review: Contra, Arnolfini
3. Much Ado About Nothing, Tobacco Factory Theatres
This production did what Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory (stf) have been doing for most of those 20 years: delivering Shakespeare’s words in a way that makes them totally comprehensible and engaging for a modern audience. The acting style was more akin to contemporary sitcom and television drama, the words delivered as if they had been written last week and not 400 years ago.
Review: Much Ado About Nothing, Tobacco Factory Theatres
4. Extraordinary Wall (of Silence), Bristol Old Vic
Bristol-based Ad Infinitum’s latest show took five years to develop and was gleaned from 40 hours of testimonials collected from people all over the UK about their experiences of being deaf. The result was a potent and at times shocking piece of storytelling that relates the living history of oppression and misunderstanding of the deaf community at the hands of the hearing.
Review: Extraordinary Wall (of Silence), Bristol Old Vic
5. Rumpelstiltskin, The New Room
Said our reviewer of Insane Root’s latest show: “This is a play of words. It revolves around the richness of stories, the magic that can be created with the phrase ‘once upon a time’, and the power of words (and names). (Matt) Grinter’s script is layered and dense, frequently almost poetic and yet also crystal-clear and gripping. It is the tale of a storyteller made flesh.”
Review: Rumpelstiltskin, The New Room