Of course I couldn’t omit to mention some of the fantastic work by mates, colleagues, fellow bloggers, and people I’m generally friendly with, in the year just gone. The Gate produced Ben Yeoh’s award-winning translation of the Noh play Nakamitsu, and it was eerie and exhilarating. Ben Ellis’s play at 503, The Final Shot, was a heart-on-sleeve piece of writing that I’m guessing was in part inspired by this documentary but was also very much its own thing. David Eldridge teamed up again with Michael Grandage and a stellar cast to make a version of Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman that will be hard to trump - icy clarity in the storytelling, heat and storm in the hearts of the protagonists. Aside from his contributions to the Miniaturists, I loved Glyn Cannon’s play The Kiss at Nottingham Lakeside, and also the piece he devised with his students, Nineteen Ninety Eight Nissan Micra. Ellen Hughes co-wrote and directed a fascinating double bill of medically-themed plays at the Old Operating Theatre, where once an audience would gather to watch dissections. Erica Whyman’s directed six things by me - and none of them miniatures, by the way! - but her work on other people’s plays at Northern Stage this year (both designed by her associate, the estimable Soutra Gilmour) has been different class - Ruby Moon in the summer and later the Newcastle epic Our Friends In The North, which comes back for a tour in the spring. At Liverpool Everyman, a space very dear to my heart after The May Queen and a very exciting Miniaturists adventure, Lizzie Nunnery made a sensational debut with Intemperance - Alfred Hickling doesn’t exaggerate here. Lizzie was on this Royal Court thing with me, The 50 - and to my shame I missed work by fellow 50ers including Duncan Macmillan, James Graham, Tena Stivicic, Tom Morton-Smith, Ian Kershaw, Oladipo Agboluaje... Mea culpa. I did however catch a reading of Samreen Masood’s I Will Find You (at the Minis we produced her wonderful Blaggin’ Bread), and a tantalising excerpt from Rachel Barnett’s Perfect Sandcastle at Hampstead. Leyla Nazli was in that group too, and when not exec producing at the Arcola she wrote the blinding Silver Birch House. Richard Bean’s play In The Club was a comedy highlight for me, as he put his stamp on that trickily formulaic thing, the sex farce. Lucy Skilbeck directed Gabriel by Moira Buffini at RADA - great work by the Orstraylian, detailed and dynamic - and MB is one of my favourite writers, can’t wait to see Marianne Dreams.
Then there was The Rose Tattoo at the Olivier - Lucy was associate on the show, working with her friend Steven Pimlott, when he suddenly relapsed into illness. After the terrible shock of his death, the NT and the company took Steven’s production forward, and when I saw it I swooned at its generosity, colour, romanticism, and inherent sense of fun, qualities I gather its director had in spades.