Johanne: In 2018, it was ten years since the Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter passed away. To commemorate the man who has been called the greatest British playwright of the 20th century, the London theatre bearing his name has teamed up with the Jamie Lloyd Company to present all of Pinter’s twenty one-act plays over the course of one star-studded season. I have been fortunate to see all the plays so far, and remain mightily impressed by how Pinter’s writing is both menacing and hilarious – often at the same time.

Shelby: Been So Long is not the overly romantic and sensationalised musical that La La Land was. Instead, it’s a vibrant, diverse, charming and, frankly, hilarious musical for the real London. Set in Camden Town, it finds the musical,cultural vibrancy of modern London. What brings so much life and soul to Been So Long are its complex and genuinely likeable characters. There are no stereotypes, no token sidekicks, no racially charged narratives. There are just people: people of different colours, flaws, backgrounds and circumstances, who live and love in the same manically beautiful city.

Jordan: 2018 brought us some terrific games… along with Fortnite, unfortunately. As much as I’ve loved (and despised) all the titles, my favourite game of the year has to be Shadow of the Tomb Raider. As the third and final instalment of its trilogy, the game brings an astounding end to the journey of this decade’s Lara Croft. Most strikingly for me, it presents the flaws of our stealthy heroine in a profound way. Plus, the plot, the action, the scenery, the puzzles, the brutality, are to die for: something you’ll be doing a lot as you race to stop the Mayan apocalypse that Lara unleashes.

Nick: ‘I can be a romantic’, Conor Murphy croons as Nearer My God starts. Foxing’s early emo revival roots now long in the past, their third album was a testament to the power of needing something. ‘I want it all’ opens the title track and perhaps summarises the album. The band, long flying under the radar of critics and decried as wannabe art-rockers by many in their scene, came out with a 12-track masterpiece. Experimental but never inaccessible, honest but never too open, Nearer My God dominated 2018 musically, lyrically and thematically. Sorry, The 1975.

Gabriela: In 2018 there were some cringe-worthy trends, but one of the bests has been the two-piece suit. First seen on New York Fashion Week in September, they have been sprouting everywhere and blooming with floral prints and workwear chic checkered pairings. As someone who likes to mix and match this trend was great because you can pair a floral blazer with a simple outfit and give it some glam instantly. Always dress for the job you want, rather than the job you have.

Rebecca: My favourite book of 2018 has to be The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I read this within a week and was instantly pulled in by the murder mystery, terrifying characters, and fascinating story arc. I would recommend this to everyone and if you ask me to describe it to you I would struggle, as would anyone else who has read it. It is an amalgamation of Agatha Christie meets The Matrix meets Cluedo and so much more.  It is an ambitious and mind-boggling read that I wouldn’t recommend reading whilst alone.

Jodie: The standout show of 2018 has to be Bodyguard. Whilst I’ll admit that it faltered towards the end, it always kept me hooked and waiting for the next episode with bated breath. Mercurio’s script was strong and always tense and exciting, but the best thing about the show was its ability to enthrall the nation. It became a national event that dominated social media and TV screens, and was the most watched show of the year, with the biggest audience of any BBC programme since Doctor Who’s 2008 Christmas special. It was more than a show; it was an amazing event that kept its audience on the edge of its seat.


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