Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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The 10 Shows of 2019.

Leicester, UK
2019 has been an incredible year when it comes to the theatre. I've definitely reviewed more shows in 2019 than any of the other years since I began and I'm captivated by everything the theatres in and around the East Midlands. At the end of each year, I love to sit down and reflect on those shows and try to create a list of 10 which are my favourite, 10 shows which have stuck with me way after the curtain goes down.

I finally compiled my list of shows whilst sipping on a tea in London's Theatre Cafe which is a spot I'd like to spend more time in next year. It made me feel so inspired for the year ahead.

Last year I did this on Twitter by sharing a feed of the 10 shows but this year I want to reflect on it in a blog post like in 2017 (read it here) as it's the perfect time capsule as years go by. We also enter a new decade in 2020 and that excites me because there are loads of fantastic performances to look forward to! You can read what's on my 2020 Theatre Bucket List if you want a flavour for what I'm excited for in this new year. 

Until then let's dive in and discover what 10 shows made my 2019. This is in no chronological order either, I just wanted to share the 10 shows I loved from this year above all of the others I was blessed to see. 

Kinky Boots closed in West End at the beginning of the year so I was desperate to bag a ticket when I heard that it would be touring in the UK. It was well worth the wait because not only did I get the opportunity to see it once, but twice! Kinky Boots is one of a kind in the musical theatre world if you ask me and most certainly stands as a strong individual. It not only has a powerful message at the heart of it but there's also the glitter, glamour and hot choreography to put on an unforgettable show. 

I still listen to the soundtrack regularly and wish for more time to watch it over and over. Although the tour is sadly over I am thrilled it is being screened in the cinemas next year!

It's no doubt that out of all the new stage adaptations to come onto the stage in 2019, The Boy in the Dress was one that I was most excited for. "You can be whoever you want to be" in this 2 hours 20-minute production based on the best-selling and heartwarming novel from David Walliams. The Boy in the Dress had an excellent musical score, captivating stage design and moments of hilarity amongst a heartwarming story. I loved every moment of this production and it was unlike anything I'd seen before.

It's performing at the RSC until March and I am definitely going to be seeing it again before the final curtain call. 

I've waited for the longest time for West Side Story to make it onto a stage near me and so I was pretty chuffed about the news of Curve's Christmas production this year. It is hands down probably one of the best Made at Curve productions and it was everything and more I expected. I loved the way they created the many explosive scenes in this retelling of Romeo and Juliet, particularly the fighting and the ending. 

I loved how they took on some of the most iconic musical numbers of our time, I was in awe of how they took this on. I said in my review that "Curve has done a remarkable job with this classic, without losing the very elements that the audience remember it for in superb style and it was genuinely one of the best productions of our time. The orchestra was euphoric in delivering Leonard's Bernstein's iconic score, it brought chills, especially in the more intense moments of the story." The production is still on at the Curve Theatre until early January so it's definitely something you need to watch before its too late! 

There is no better feeling than going into a musical unsure of what to expect and being one of the first people on your feet in the finale. 9 to 5 truly surprised me in 2019 and became one of my favourite shows very quickly.  Although I know very little of Dolly Parton and the history of this show, underneath the fun and sass was the importance of equality and the right for a woman to have the same opportunities as men. It is an empowering production that I loved from start to finish, the soundtrack is great stuff too. I haven't been able to get the songs Get Out and Stay Out and Shine Like The Sun out of my head since. 

It's still performing on the West End at the moment so definitely book your tickets if you haven't already!

It's been a stellar of a year for Selladoor Worldwide and I've seen quite a handful of their new productions in 2019. Up there as one of my favourites was certainly Amelie. This inspiring new production showed a beautiful presentation of impeccable storytelling, set design and a musical score that will last with me way beyond this year for sure. I think this musical has a heartwarming story at the heart of it but there was something about the delivery in humour that integrated well into the musical too. There was strength in the actors and musicians too, I haven't seen a production like Amelie this year and it left such an incredible lasting impression on me. 

I have built fantastic relationships with local theatre companies in 2019 and one of those is with the Kristian Thomas Company from Derby. I've seen a handful of their productions this year and loved being able to have a sneak into the rehearsal room as well as see their performances. One of my favourites this year was Legally Blonde. I've seen this performed around 3/4 times and I genuinely believe that this was my favourite. The level of professionalism delivered from this company really wowed me!

I loved the musical before seeing it but I definitely think KTC's production rekindled my love for the entire thing over and over again! I can't wait to see their productions in the new year!

Avenue Q is Jordan's favourite musical so he was delighted by the news it'd be heading to our local theatre this year. It was hands down one of the FUNNIEST and (filthiest) things I've ever watched! It was 6 years since it last came on tour and this new production from Selladoor definitely delivered the journey of 12 unique and very different characters who are discovering their purpose in New York City.  It's a production solely for adults to enjoy and the roars of laughter were a nod to the excellent work of the small cast who transition between different characters throughout the show. 

I'm gutted the tour is over but hopefully, it won't be as long as 6 years for another tour to emerge! 

I love a feel-good musical and one which definitely delivered that for me in 2019 was Priscilla Queen of the Desert. There really was a lot of glitter and noise coming from the Curve Theatre, Leicester when a battered old bus arrived along with 3 of the most eccentric drag queens from Australia. The musical has a fabulous set, costume and musical score. I've never seen an audience rise from their seats at a finale as quick as I did when I saw this production. It's tricky not to sing along with the score too - so many unforgettable disco tracks in this show!

It's a production that tours quite frequently so I would definitely urge people to book a ticket if they've never seen it before, it's fabulous! 

Read my review of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. 

I saw the stage production of Michael Morpugo's novel War Horse this year and it was just like seeing the show for the first time. This time I was sat a lot closer to the action and found a new appreciation for the puppetry, I was transfixed by the art of moving the animals. It was stunning. I felt every bit of emotion just as much as I did the first time I saw it and the magic hasn't been lost in the National Theatre's production. I don't know anybody who has seen this show and hasn't loved it just as much as I did. I would see this show over and over again if I could and I love sharing it with my family and friends too!

My last show of 2019 was one I highly anticipated after booking my tickets earlier in the year. Dear Evan Hasen has been on my theatre bucket list since I first downloaded the Broadway soundtrack and I was gripped to the words of a young boy that I could resonate with on so many levels. I crossed my fingers tightly for a West End transfer and my wish came true in 2019. I have never seen a musical which has moved me from the moment I heard the first beat of the music and until the last. I was hooked! I cried more times than I care to confess for this musical and its staging was delicate to the subject matter. I want to see it a few more times now please and have the UK touring production in the next couple of years, who knows!

That sums up my incredible 2019 in theatre! What about you? What shows did you see in 2019 that you loved? What were your favourites? Tell me below. 


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