A year in culture: Theatre

Critics' Choice: The Best of 2011

The Bard had a good 2011. Kevin Spacey's Richard III was a master of honed insincerity and, in his sunglasses and tunic, predicted Muammar al-Gaddafi's end. As Hamlet, Michael Sheen could not be definitive because Ian Rickson's never-dull production (zombies and all) was so flaky, but he was remarkable all the same. As sparky was Rupert Goold's Merchant of Venice, set in another money-crazed society, Las Vegas. Of the new writing, Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors, based on a play by Carlo Goldoni, gained most attention but I also appreciated the RSC's clever thriller Silence. As for Nick Dear's and Danny Boyle's Frankenstein - it was a thing of parts, good and bad, but still a monster hit.

Andrew Billen has worked as a celebrity interviewer for, successively, The Observer, the Evening Standard and, currently The Times. For his columns, he was awarded reviewer of the year in 2006 Press Gazette Magazine Awards.

This article first appeared in the 12 December 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Unholy war