(The following article appeared in the Times of London on 12/13.)

The best theatre of the decade

We saw puppets centre stage, Scottish soldiers lift the lid on Iraq, Douglas Hodge in a dress and Doctor Who as Hamlet

1 War Horse National 2007

This adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book was the theatrical event of the decade, starring a life-size puppet of a horse. The story was sublimely simple: a farm horse, Joey, is drafted to the western front, and Albert, the boy who loved him, goes off to France to rescue him. The effect was beautiful and devastating.

2 Jerusalem Royal Court 2009

As Johnny “Rooster” Byron, Mark Rylance gave the performance of the decade in Jez Butterworth’s superb, hilarious play. Rooster is a wild, wicked old gypsy living

in a caravan in Wiltshire, full of cider and speed, a dubious friend of the local school kids and a bitter enemy of all the suffocating forces of modern conformity.

3 The Norman Conquests Old Vic 2008

This revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s trilogy from 1973 proved it to be solid theatrical gold, still astonishingly fresh and funny. Filled with painfully accurate portraits of marriages and affairs in various states of decay, it also had a fantastically complex structure that was nothing but pleasure.


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