1. Punchdrunk: The Drowned Man at Temple Studios – ★★★★★. Until 27th April.
In our toughest week yet – three marvellous five star reviews on offer – Punchdrunk’s spectacle has to take the top spot. This may seem like pandering to hype and fame, so let me defend myself. Firstly, I will actually admit to being a tad disappointed with The Drowned Man, because actually there is no narrative or linear storyline to follow. As such, I wasn’t so much engaged as just completely overwhelmed by the technical achievement. However, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything like this show before, and for that reason it has to take my top spot for the week.
2. Urinetown at the St. James Theatre – ★★★★★. Until 3rd May.
Urinetown is the first of two cracking new musicals in my top five the week. Described as “a new breed of musical”, this gritty show is an absolute corker. I particularly enjoyed our reviewer’s final summary, which sums it up nicely: “Urinetown is a combination of neo-noir sociopolitical ideas, humour, gore, steampunk settings, cabaret, gospel and Broadway musical numbers, all sewn together to make a Frankenstein titan of musical theatre”. How’s that for a description?!
3. Ushers: The Front of House Musical at Charing Cross Theatre – ★★★★★. Until 19th April.
Our third five star show of the week (equaling our tally of five star reviews for the whole of 2014 so far!). Ushers is “a cheeky take on the life behind the scenes at a West End theatre”, and it is particularly relevant given the magnificent performance of the brave ushers on duty when the Apollo roof collapsed. Our reviewer was absolutely smitten by the whole show, and to be honest it does sound like huge fun. If you’re up a feel-good night out, then this is the show for you.
4. Jane Eyre at the Rosemary Branch Theatre – ★★★★. Until 19th April.
Sometimes you need a really good drama, and that is what is on offer at the Rosemary Branch Theatre at the moment. What struck me about this one is that it is an adaptation of a classic text, which immediately concerned me. However, this adaptation keeps it simple and remains true to the text. Said our reviewer: “Where some fail, this beautiful and faithful production triumphs, for all its simplicity”. From the review and the images, one thing you can glean is that this is a stunning show – don’t miss!
5. Companion Piece at the Pleasance Theatre – ★★★★. Until 30th April.
And creeping in to grab the last spot in our list of top productions of the week is the gripping-sounding Companion Piece at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington. The star of the show here is the script, which our reviewer describes as “a clever and accomplished piece of writing”. It’s always good to see a show where you come out feeling satisfied by the writing itself, so if that’s what floats your boat then get on it!