Best and Worst of 2008

I am rather pleased that my comments on the best and worst cultural events of 2008 have been included in Richard Morrison’s column in The Times yesterday. You can read his article here.

Also, here is the full list I sent him. If you have anything to add to this, please feel free to comment!


Enjoy at Birmingham Rep with Alison Steadman: it was a world in miniature, funny, sad, sometimes cringeworthy, and full of excellent performances, especially Steadman, who makes a wonderfully believable Leeds housewife trying to hang on to an old way of life that is much more than just housing. Wonderfully awful portrait of a marriage, too.

King Lear at the Globe: David Calder’s Lear was perfectly judged – venerable yet vulnerable in his madness, he was a traditional yet utterly believable Lear, opening himself to the heavens on the heath (at which point it obligingly rained).

Journey’s End at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham: a tiny studio theatre and a small, amateur production, and it was amazing – the tension of the trenches, the mixed fear and exhilaration, and the shocking ending that brought a tear to my eye – one of the most moving productions I’ve seen this year, and even more amazing on their budget!

I’d like to say a word for Laura Knight at the Theatre, an exhibition at Nottingham Castle – it demonstrates the essence of theatre – movement, life, exuberance, enthusiasm – it’s the best exhibition I’ve seen this year.


The Edge of Love: it made me glad I never met Dylan Thomas. What a flaccid, unpleasant man this film made him seem, and what idiots the women were to put up with him.
Wuthering Heights at Birmingham Rep: not that bad but not that good; maybe it’s just a bit much for a play. The characters seemed cross or happy rather than passion-filled, and Anthony Byrne’s Heathcliff would be more at home managing PC World than tramping the wild moors with his beloved. 


  1. So I have. That’s the trouble with copying text without checking it properly!

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