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Top 10 shows of 2023: Lisa in the Theatre - year in review

Updated: Jan 29

2023 Theatre! 2023 in review: Lisa in the Theatre's favourite shows of 2023. Musical Theatre, Dance, Plays, Live Comedy

To give some context to my favourite shows of the year, I first want to lay down some stats: (Jump to the shows)

⭐ I saw 140 live shows in 2023.

⭐ My top genre was musical theatre and plays, at 39 of each (78 total.) The rest was a mix of dance, drag, panto, comedy etc.

⭐ My busiest month was August with 52 shows (inc 48 at Edinburgh Fringe.)

⭐ My most visited city for theatre was Glasgow (where I live and work) with 62 shows seen there. Followed by Edinburgh, and then all over the UK for the remainder.

⭐ I saw 129 shows in Scotland and 11 in England.

⭐ I didn't see any production more than once, although I saw 3 different versions of Aladdin!

💰 Although I'm lucky enough to be invited to review a lot of shows, I still spend a fortune on tickets and travel. I understand how lucky I am to be able to do so.

☠️ I nearly killed myself in August and I will NOT be reviewing over 50 shows in one month ever again!

⭐ Of the 140 shows I saw, 122 of them have full reviews on my website, and all 140 have some form of posts, stories or reels on my Instagram I spend so much time doing this, it really is a 2nd (and 3rd!) job.

💕 Thank you to everyone who invites me, reads my reviews, or likes and comments on my posts. It means the world.

⭐ If you see 200 shows or 2 shows a year (or none!) it honestly doesn't make you any more or any less of a theatre fan. I only share my numbers to give some context to my annual favourites. So when I say something is the best, or my favourite - it has a lot of competition!!


My favourite shows of 2023

I've had a tough year. Without oversharing - life has been challenging. So my favourites for 2023 are full of the shows that brought me the most JOY. The shows that made me grin from ear to ear.

Disney's Newsies, London.

Overall Winner🏆

🌟 Disney's Newsies

My overall winner and favourite show of the entire year is Newsies. I've never experienced anything like it. Immersive theatre that made full use of the unique space at the massive Wembley Troubadour Park Theatre. The show is the perfect combination of choreography, cast, story and song. Newsies London is everything that's good about theatre. Jaw-dropping.


Rambert Dance: Peaky Blinders UK Tour


🌟 Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby by Rambert Dance is the most incredible, heart thumping, beautifully designed, stunning dance production I've ever seen. The music, the costumes, the cast - all immaculate. It's coming back to Edinburgh Festival Theatre in 2024 and you better believe I already have my tickets booked.

I also loved the outstanding dance productions from Johannes Radebe and Recirquel Cirque Danse by Bence Vági this year.


Winner🏆 (West End)

🌟 Moulin Rouge in London is something else. The theatre design, the leads, the ensemble cast of exquisite dancers, the mash-up of songs. It's just brilliant fun and expertly presented.

Winner 🏆 (UK Tour)

🌟 From a UK tour perspective, 42nd Street has it all. A great combination of music and dance, and no scrimping on the sets or costumes either. A real opulent classic of a show.

I saw some fantastic new musicals in early development at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year, including Hello Kitty Must Die, Chriskirkpatrickmas: A Boy Band Christmas Musical and Alan Turing: A musical biography.

🌟 However the biggest Musical theatre surprise for me this year was the absolute genius that is Showstopper: The Improvised musical. The group used my review for a pull-quote on their posters in Edinburgh and I still can't say it any better "It's some kind of witchcraft." I will never forget Zig-a-zig-baa the musical. Utter, utter geniuses. Amazing!


It was a great year for Scottish Theatre with Scots, Moorcroft and Battery Park easily in my top 10 shows of the year. The original soundtrack from Battery Park is so, so special I've had it on repeat constantly for months. I've said before I would go support this band if they were real! I was sorry to miss Tally's Blood when I was ill, but from what I've heard, it is absolutely brilliant too.

There is so much writing, acting and directing talent in Scotland, it's fantastic to see so many successful, original shows being produced year after year.

Battery Park, Sleeping Warrior Theatre Company.


Both Adults by Kieran Hurley and 'Sean and Daro' by Laurie Motherwell are little, lower budget plays that had me howling with glee this summer. Fabulous writing and performances from everyone involved mean they easily eclipsed some of the bigger budget plays for me.


I saw a lot of great live comedy in 2023 and I have 5 shows that were my favourites of the year. Five shows that I can't pick between because they were all brilliant!

🏆 MC Hammersmith is a rap comedy wizard. What he does needs to be seen to be believed. This was the first show I saw at Edinburgh Fringe in 2023 and I was blown-away by his talent. MC Hammersmith has a UK tour in 2024 and yes I absolutely have tickets for the Glasgow date. Im taking a group! Don't let me down MC Hammersmith!

🏆 Jason Byrne is one of my all-time favourite comedians. He's just brilliant at what he does. I've seen him live a number of times and I've always been doubled over in pain laughing with him (at him?) His rescheduled show 'Unblocked' in Glasgow 2023 was one of his best.

🏆 Get Off Live Comedy easily put on the best showcase of comedians I saw in 2023. A cracker of an evening for a very worthwhile cause.

🏆 Reuben Kaye is an immaculate performer. A diva, a dreamboat, a devilishly funny comedian and gorgeous variety performer. I can't start writing about him because I'll never stop.

🏆 Rachel Fairburn's latest set 'Showgirl' showcases a comedian at the top of her game. Glorious from beginning to end!



🏆 Uncanny Live was such a welcome surprise! I did not expect such great theatrical production values and slick delivery from the popular podcast. Easily one of the most enjoyable nights I've spent in a theatre this year. Two fascinating and spooky case studies, supplemented by stories of local Glasgow ghouls. I could've listened to Danny Robins, Evelyn Hollow and the Glasgow audience tell their tales for hours longer.

I did not review the show as I was just there for fun, but if it ever tours again - I'll be booking for every venue I can manage! 👻👻👻👻👻

Want to know what made my list in 2022?


🌟2023 in review: Lisa in the Theatre's favourite shows of 2023. Musical Theatre, Dance, Plays, Live Comedy🌟

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Lisa in the theatre, theater, reviews, blog, Scotland, Scottish


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