"Pass it on, boys. That's the game I want you to learn. Pass it on"
Ever one to jump on a bandwagon, here’s my contribution to the #ThankyouNick love-in, as Nick Hytner bids farewell to the National Theatre. Narrowing down my favourite productions at the South Bank venue was hugely difficult given the number of shows I’ve seen there since moving to London just over 10 years ago and also in considering other memorable moments - like the joy of getting to see the likes of Vanessa Redgrave and Juliette Binoche onstage for the first time, the jaw-dropping design feats like Bunny Christie’s tenement block for Men Should Weep and Mark Tildesley’s clanging bell in Frankenstein, the revelatory Shakespearean moments like Clare Higgins’ awesome Gertrude and the extraordinary emotion of the final scene of Dominic Cooke's The Comedy of Errors...
Anyhoo, here’s my top 10 (plus five honourable mentions) in roughly chronological order.
Back in the day when taking a day off work to see two shows was something I’d never thought of, seeing this adaptation of one of my favourite works of literature proved to be a life-changingly amazing experience and hugely moving too, at the end I sobbed in my seat until the Olivier emptied.
Likewise, seeing Rupert Goold direct for the first time without any of the advance knowledge or expectation was just breath-taking - I would love to see those scene changes again.
One of the most haunting things I have ever seen, even to this day.
That scene change!
Nancy Carroll's back being better than most other actors!
A truly paradigm-shifting musical
So good I gave it a standing ovation without even realising what I was doing.
So good I went back four more times.
If only more shows in the newly refurbished Dorfman were this adventurous, not least in its casting choices.
Not a bad haul at all then, and a great trip down memory lane, thinking about plays that had long slipped from my mind for no reason other than my own forgetfulness. There are undoubtedly shows I wish I'd seen - Much Ado About Nothing, Jerry Springer, even The History Boys - all victims of being on at a time when I didn't feel the need to see everything!
So let me know what you think and what would you have on your list.