Hamilton – Victoria Palace Theatre
Hip-hop musical Hamilton is a popular, critical and financial success. The show has won 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The Rockefeller Foundation, believing the show is a “catalyst for social change”, bought $7.5 million in tickets for public high school students in the States.
The Inheritance – Noel Coward Theatre
Set in New York City at the beginning of the AIDS crisis and spanning the next 40 years until the Trump election, Matthew Lopez’s two-part, seven-hour-long gay-centric adaptation of Em Forster’s Howards End wowed critics across the board.
The Writer – Almeida Theatre
Ella Hickson’s prescient drama about exploitation and sexism in the arts rose to prominence during the Weinstein allegations and while the narrative focuses on a young female artist being exploited by an older male director, its scope also covers the politics of capitalism and patriarchal society at large.
Ear For Eye – Royal Court
Debbie Tucker green’s searing and unapologetic play, shown at a theatre that usually attracts a white upper-class demographic, reveals over its two-hour duration, the realities of living with black skin today.
Nine Night – National Theatre
Natasha Gordon became the first ever black British female playwright to be shown in the West End this year when her first ever play Nine Night transferred to Trafalgar Studios. It was first shown at the National in 2018, at the same time the Windrush scandal broke, and it was praised for presenting a realistic portrait of Jamaican family life. The domestic drama is set over nine days and nights when the family of the recently deceased Gloria come together to observe the Jamaican funeral tradition – also called Nine Nights. The show toes the line between comedy and pathos, reaching a powerfully emotional conclusion.
Misty – Trafalgar Studios
A playful yet profound take on modern life in the capital. Misty offered a powerful journey through the heart and soul of inner-city London, grappling with everything from night bus arguments to life as an artist. Writer Arinzé became the second black British playwright to have a play on in the West End when the play was first performed at Trafalgar Studios after a run at the Bush Theatre.
Lead image: The Writer (Ella Hickson)