DURING my five years as leisure editor I have seen and reviewed a lot of great shows at the excellent theatres in our area.

But which stick in my memory as my favourite shows? Here is my top ten.

1. Spamalot

April 2012 at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre and November 2010 at the Wycombe Swan

THIS is my favourite musical of all time. It is so gloriously silly it cannot fail to have you giggling in your seat. The songs are brilliant and include the Fisch Slapping Song from Finland ("I said England not Finland"), He Is Not Dead Yet and The Song That Goes Like This (Once in every show there comes a song like this/ It starts off soft and low and ends up with a kiss). It obviously helps that I am a big fan of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which it is based on. I think the best thing of all is that it doesn't leave you time to get bored- there is so much going on an evening goes by in a blur.

Read the review here

2. One Man, Two Guvnors September

2012 at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

JAMES Cordon made the role of Francis Henshall his own, impressing audiences in the Uk and America. The play is one you will want to see again and again for its humour, energy and unpretentious script. It follows Henshall as he struggles to cope with the daunting and confusing task of having two 'guvnors'- not as easy as it sounds. It has slapstick, gags and the audience laughing out loud throughout. Corden proved himself as an extremely talented actor with perfect comedy timing- both verbally and physically. The play is back this August in Aylesbury, with Gavin Spokes playing Francis.

Read the review here

3. Blood Brothers

September 2010 at the Wycombe Swan

I must confess that before I went to see Blood Brothers, I didn't really know what to expect. But I was blown away by the powerful and moving story, which has long since stuck in my memory. Niki Evans played Mrs Johnstone and her performance was truly phenomenal. Blood Brothers is a musical with a difference. The show is unlike any other musical as it is full of drama and has a realistic story line which watches Mrs Johnstone's struggle as her twins are separated at birth and grow up in completely different classes. Definitely a must see.

Read the review here

4. Rocky Horror Show

February 2013 and December 2010 at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

When I first saw this show, I was amazed. I couldn't believe how "out there" it was, but it was so good I went to see it again when it returned to Aylesbury. It is just so much fun with stockings, hot pants, sex and catchy music. It celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, yet it still has the capacity to shock audiences. I love how the audience really get in the spirit and heckle the narrator, when appropriate, and how audience members dress in stockings and high heels for the occasion.

Read my last review here

5. Avenue Q

April 2011 at the Wycombe Swan

Again, quite a risqué production, with song titles such as Everyone's A Little Bit Racist and The Internet is for Porn. But also very funny with many laugh out moments. Singing puppets play alongside humans as the audience follows the story of Princeton- an English graduate, who finds himself on a dilapidated street in New York and goes on to meet the street's varied characters. Like Sesame Street, there is a moral to each story but again it is all tongue in cheek and it is hard not to leave the theatre smiling.

Read my review here

6. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

February 2014 at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

A brilliant cast and funny script made this a great show. It came to Aylesbury before heading to the West End and starred Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound and Katherine Kingsley. It is light, bright and full of fun. Lindsay and Hound make a great comedy duo as the two conmen Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson. The roles seemed almost made for them with the flair and sophistication of Lindsay and the damn right silliness and enthusiasm of Hound. The story follows the arrival of the brash American Freddy in the town of Beaumont Sur Mer, where Lawrence has been making a very healthy living charming and conning women out some of their large fortunes. Lawrence takes Freddy under his wing to train him in the art of manipulation, but soon they are at loggerheads and have challenged each other to win the fortune of Christine Colgate.

Read my review here

7. Sister Act

March 2012 at the Wycombe Swan

Sister Act has a great score with songs that will have you dancing in the aisles. Co-produced by Whoopi Goldberg herself, the show closely follows the 1992 movie of the same name as Deloris Van Cartier is forced to hide in a convent after witnessing a murder by her mafia boss boyfriend. The score has a Philadelphia disco vibe and has it all- from the toe-tapping numbers like Take Me To Heaven and Fabulous Baby! to the more tender moments with Sister Act and The Life I Never Led.

Read my review here

8. Maurice's Jubilee

January 2013 at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

This was another surprise for me as I didn't known what to expect, but Nicola McAuliffe's play was heartwarming, funny and poignant. The story focuses on Helena, played by Sheila Reid, and Maurice, played by Julian Glover, who have been married for 66 years. During that time Helena has had to cope with another love in Maurice's life- the Queen of England. He said he met her the night before Her Majesty's Coronation but Helena says this is just a fantasy. Maurice is now terminally ill with cancer and a nurse called Katy, played by Nichola McAuliffe, comes into their home to help him in his last few weeks. The cast work wonderfully well together and it is this which makes the show such a success and made me shed a tear.

Read my review here

9. Swallows and Amazons

February 2012 at the Wycombe Swan

THIS was a brilliant, innovative production, which made the story come to life. Produced by the Children’s Touring Partnership, Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre the touring show is a wonderful glimpse into children’s imagination. The show follows four young children as they spend the last week of their holidays on an island across the lake from where their mother is staying. Full of excitement and adventure the children name themselves The Swallows and soon meet a rival group called The Amazons, but they then unite to battle against Captain Flint- an uncle to The Amazons. What makes the show so special is all the props used, which make the audience use their own imagination. There’s a parrot fashioned from a feather duster, cormorants made from bin liners and an ingenious telescope using a wooden ring. A brilliant show.

To read my review click here.

10. Beauty and The Beast Wycombe Swan Youth Theatre

August 2012 at the Wycombe Swan 

This list wouldn't be complete without a show form the Wycombe Swan Youth Theatre. This was the first one I saw and I was mightily impressed. The cast are fantastic and what you would expect from a professional show. I am a big fan of this story because of the brilliant songs and I left with a smile on my face.

Read my review here

Which are your favourite shows you have seen in the area? Leave your comments below.