Best of the Best Theatre 2022: Critics’ Best Shows of 2022

A round-up of the Best of Theatre lists for 2022 from London theatre critics.

This “Best of the Best” brings together 2022 Theatre Highlights lists from major UK theatre critics including Susanna Clapp of the Observer, Arifa Akbar of the Guardian, Sam Marlowe of The Stage and Andrzej Lukowski of TimeOut.

“Winners” so far this year are the Young Vic’s Oklahoma!, which transfers to the Wyndham’s Theatre in February, Jodie Comer in Prima Facie at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Othello, currently playing at the National starring Giles Terera, and Daddy at the Almeida Theatre.

The caveat to naming Best of the Best “winners” is that lists vary in length, and some lists focus on London theatre, others London and UK theatre.

More Best of 2022 lists to follow.

Susanna Clapp, The Observer

Theatre: The Observer’s theatre critic Susannah Clapp’s 10 best shows of 2022

  1. Blues for an Alabama Sky, National Theatre London
  2. Punchdrunk’s The Burnt City, One Cartridge Place London
  3. Oklahoma!, Young Vic London (coming to the Wyndham’s Theatre London)
  4. Hamlet, Bristol Old Vic
  5. Orlando, Garrick Theatre London
  6. Not Now, Finborough Theatre London
  7. The Mozart Question, Barn Theatre Cirencester
  8. I, Joan, Shakespeare’s Globe London
  9. Daddy, Almeida Theatre London
  10. Celebrated Virgins, Theatr Clwyd Mold

Read more

More reviews from Susanna Clapp

Emma Corrin in Orlando
Emma Corrin in Orlando. Photo by Marc Brenner

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian

The best theatre of 2022 by the Guardian’s chief theatre critic Arifa Akbar

  1. Iphigenia in Splott, Lyric Hammersmith London
  2. The Chairs, Almeida Theatre London
  3. The Doctor, Almeida Theatre / Duke of York’s Theatre London
  4. Beautiful Evil Things, North Wall Arts Centre Oxford
  5. Who Killed My Father, Young Vic Theatre London
  6. Oklahoma!, Young Vic Theatre London (coming to the Wyndham’s Theatre London)
  7. Crazy for You, Chichester Festival Theatre
  8. Our Generation, National Theatre London
  9. Two Palestinians Go Dogging, Royal Court Theatre London
  10. Prima Facie, Harold Pinter Theatre London

Read more

More reviews from Arifa Akbar

Charlie Stemp in Crazy For You. Photo by Johan Persson

Sam Marlowe, The Stage

The Stage’s reviews editor Sam Marlowe reveals her top shows from London across 2022

  • Age of Rage, Barbican Theatre London
  • Daddy – A Melodrama, Almeida Theatre London
  • Folk, Hampstead Theatre London
  • For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy, Royal Court Theatre London
  • Iphigenia in Splott, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre London
  • Jerusalem, Apollo Theatre London
  • Jitney, Old Vic Theatre London
  • Legally Blonde, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre London
  • My Neighbour Totoro, Barbican Theatre London
  • Oklahoma!, Young Vic Theatre London (coming to the Wyndham’s Theatre London)
  • The Crucible, National Theatre London
  • The Father and the Assassin, National Theatre London
  • The Glow, Royal Court Theatre London
  • The Seagull, Harold Pinter Theatre London
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Gielgud Theatre London

Read more

More reviews from Sam Marlowe

Oklahoma Young Vic London
Oklahoma! at the Young Vic London. Photo: Marc Brenner

The Telegraph

Telegraph critics pick 2022’s top 50: Theatre, written by the Telegraph Culture Desk

  1. The Southbury Child, Chichester Festival Theatre / Bridge Theatre London
  2. Prima Facie, Harold Pinter Theatre London
  3. Age is a Feeling, Summerhall Edinburgh
  4. Feeling Afraid as if Something Terrible is Going to Happen, Summerhall Edinburgh
  5. Arms and the Man, Orange Tree Theatre London

Read more

More reviews from Dominic Cavendish, chief theatre critic of the Telegraph

Prima Facie - Harold Pinter Theatre
Jodie Cromer in Prima Facie at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Photo by Helen Murray

The Independent

The Independent’s theatre critics have chosen their top stage shows of 2022, a year in which fresh new writing and charming musicals reigned supreme: Jessie Thompson (JT), Isobel Lewis (IL), Nicole Vassell (NV), Annabel Nugent (AN)

  1. Daddy – Almeida Theatre London (IL)
  2. Legally Blonde – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre London (NV)
  3. House of Ife – Bush TheatreLondon (NV)
  4. Operation Mincemeat – Southwark Playhouse London (IL)
  5. My Neighbour Totoro – Barbican Theatre London (AN)
  6. The Band’s Visit – Donmar Warehouse London (JT)
  7. The Darkest Part of the Night – Kiln Theatre London (NV)
  8. Othello – National Theatre London (JT)
  9. Tammy Faye – Almeida Theatre London (JT)
  10. Hungry – Soho Theatre London / Edinburgh Fringe (IL)
  11. I, Joan – Shakespeare’s Globe London (IL)
  12. Prima Facie – Harold Pinter Theatre London (JT)
  13. Sorry You’re Not a Winner – Bristol Old Vic (IL)
  14. That Is Not Who I Am – Royal Court London (JT)
  15. Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Leeds Playhouse and Home Manchester

Read more

More reviews from The Independent

My Neighbour Totoro
My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre. Photo by Manuel Harlan

Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut

TimeOut’s pick of the year’s best shows

  1. Sun & Sea, Albany Theatre London
  2. Punchdrunk’s The Burnt City, One Cartridge Place London
  3. The Father and the Assassin, National Theatre London
  4. The P Word, Bush Theatre London
  5. Oklahoma!, Young Vic Theatre London (coming to the Wyndham’s Theatre London)
  6. Dogs of Europe, Barbican Theatre London
  7. Othello, National Theatre London
  8. The Seagull, Harold Pinter Theatre London
  9. The Trials, Donmar Warehouse London
  10. My Neighbour Totoro, Barbican Theatre London
  • Honourable mention: Jerusalem, Apollo Theatre London

Read more

More reviews from Andrzej Lukowski

Giles Terera (Othello) and Rosy McEwen (Desdemona) in Othello at the National Theatre. Photo by Myah Jeffers

Sarah Hemming, Financial Times

  • Best of Enemies, Noel Coward Theatre London
  • Good, Harold Pinter Theatre London
  • My Neighbour Totoro, Barbican Theatre London
  • Oklahoma!, Young Vic London (coming to the Wyndham’s Theatre London)
  • Crazy for You, Chichester Festival Theatre
  • Blues for an Alabama Sky, National Theatre London
  • Jerusalem, Apollo Theatre London
  • Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s Globe London
  • Red Pitch, Bush Theatre London
  • Rock/Paper/Scissors, Sheffield Theatres

Read More

More reviews from Sarah Hemming

Best of Enemies
Best of Enemies. Photo by Johan Persson

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📷 Main photo: 2022 Year in Review

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