The Bourne supremacy
STAGE types have a habit of getting a little, well, over-dramatic but after a stonking 2012 all at the UK's premier regional theatre have plenty to act up and generally make a song and dance about.
Hardly surprising, you might think. The Theatre Royal Plymouth's 30th anniversary was bound to be a special year.
Top billing among those has to go to the world premiere of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty.
The third in his re-imaginings of Tchaikovsky ballets was eagerly awaited on both sides of the Atlantic.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The Gothic treatment was dazzling; another in the succession of coups that the theatre has enjoyed in its 30 years.
Two other anniversaries added to the celebrations. There was the tour marking 60 years of whodunit phenomenon the Mousetrap, which struggled to live up to the billing, and the 25th anniversary production of The Phantom Of The Opera, which was rather more successful.
In fact 2012 was a vintage year for musicals, from Avenue Q – Sesame Street for grown-ups – in January to Chicago in November.
They came thick and fast in the summer, Sister Act, Grease, Legally Blonde, 42nd Street in July alone followed by Oliver! in August.
It probably didn't escape your attention that there was some sport going on in London, which many feared would spell carnage for theatre attendances.
Fortunately the Theatre Royal's all-singing, all-dancing offering in competition with all the throwing and running paid off.
Bracketing the summer rush of musicals were other much-loved shows packed with familiar tunes, including a pair of Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, South Pacific and The King and I, and Willy Russell's rather more gritty Blood Brothers.
Ballet and opera have a habit of selling heavily at the Theatre Royal, whatever the competition. Birmingham Royal Ballet and Glyndebourne visits in October and November respectively, were well received.
Drama might have been drowned out by all the singing but for the compelling Beautiful Burnout, and the always superb Propeller's Henry V and The Winter's Tale.
Ontroerend Goed have a tendency to divide critics – they did so again with A History Of Everything.
Their second show of the year, All That Is Wrong, had a more subtle effect
There was more uncomfortable drama with DNA and Gravity forcing us to confront bullying. 1 Beach Road might have been a tough destination considering dementia featured prominently, but in the hands of physical theatre crew RedCape this was a piece touched by magic.
But back to the singing to end on another high note: Barbershopera's The Three Musketeers was a swashbuckling delight.
NEXT WEEK: Martin looks at local theatre highlights coming up this year.