2021 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners

In this ‘special circumstances’ year, the Offies 2021 Awards Ceremony celebrated the creativity and resilience of artists in fringe, alternative and independent theatre in a time of crisis who have found new ways to produce fresh and inventive work for thousands of stay-at-home audiences.

The Offies are OffWestEnd’s main awards, for shows with at least 10 performances, and awards were given to the best of the shows presented before lockdown and the few who managed to go ahead in the summer
months.

The OnComm is the new award for online shows from across the UK (and beyond) and was introduced in May 2020. Additionally, the winner of the OffFest award for theatre shows in festivals was also announced, alongside extra OneOff awards for innovative work and initiatives in 2020, especially in the light of the Covid lockdown. Continue reading “2021 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners”

The finalists of The Offies 2021

The finalists for the 2021 Offies (for productions in 2020) have been announced and congratulations to the 47 finalists across 16 of the 28 Offies categories. The winners will be announced at the Offies Awards Ceremony, being held online on 21 February 2021.

The following categories are not going forward for 2021 awards as there were insufficient nominations due to theatre closures arising from Covid-19 lockdowns:

  • Design: Costume
  • Design: Video
  • Choreography
  • Company Ensemble
  • Musicals: New Musical
  • Opera
  • Panto
  • Plays: Most Promising New Playwright
  • Plays: Production
  • Theatre for Young People: Production (0-7)
  • Theatre for Young People: Production (13+)
  • Theatre for Young People: Production (8+)

Continue reading “The finalists of The Offies 2021”

2020 Offie Award Winners

Offies Awards - Off West End Theatre Awards

DESIGN

Design: Costume
WINNER – Adrian Gee, Amour, Charing Cross Theatre
Emily Bestow, 42nd Street, Upstairs at the Gatehouse
Hannah Wolfe , Great Expectations, National Youth
Theatre, Southwark Playhouse

Design: Set
WINNER – Diego Pitarch, Night of the Living Dead – Live!,
Pleasance
Justin Williams, Whistle Down the Wind, Union
Theatre
Lee Newby, The View UpStairs, Soho Theatre
Rachael Ryan, Thrill Me, Hope Theatre

Design: Sound
Benjamin Grant, The War of the Worlds, New Diorama
Lex Kosanke, Hunger, Arcola
WINNER – Matt Eaton, All’s Well That Ends Well, Guildford Bard,
Jermyn Street Theatre
Xana, Blood Knot, Orange Tree

Design: Lighting
Christopher Nairne, Preludes, Southwark Playhouse
Clancy Flynn, An Act of God, Vaults
WINNER – Jessica Hung Han Yun, Equus, English Touring Theatre,
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Nic Farman, Night of the Living Dead – Live!, Pleasance

Design: Video
Andrzej Goulding, The Unreturning, Theatre Royal
Stratford East
WINNER – Ben Bull, Baby Reindeer, Bush Theatre
Douglas Baker, Moby Dick, Jack Studio Theatre Continue reading “2020 Offie Award Winners”

Review: Macbeth, Greenwich Theatre

Lazarus Theatre’s ensemble-based take on Macbeth at Greenwich Theatre proves thrilling in its stylish directorial vision

“In these cases, we still have judgement here”

A glance at the credits suggests that this is Ricky Duke’s Macbeth, as much as Shakespeare. Dukes directs his own adaptation here and has also designed this production for Lazarus Theatre and at its best, it is thrilling in its stylish directorial vision. With its eye on the ensemble, its the physicality of this production that marks it out as a refreshing change to the norm.

Played in contemporary dress, this Macbeth finds itself unmoored from any real specific context. Guns and gas masks sit alongside sharp suits for the company but the world of the play is ultimately, suitably strange. Apparitions haunt the stage, watching scenes impassively; coronations burst out of glitter drop falls; war is fought through the scattering of mountains of paperwork. Continue reading “Review: Macbeth, Greenwich Theatre”

The finalists of The Offies 2020

Offies Awards - Off West End Theatre Awards

The finalists for the 2020 Offies (for performances in 2019) have been announced and congratulations to all 89 mentioned below. A tip of the hat too to the 400+ nominees who you can find here.

DESIGN

Design: Costume
Adrian Gee, Amour, Charing Cross Theatre
Emily Bestow, 42nd Street, Upstairs at the Gatehouse
Hannah Wolfe , Great Expectations, National Youth
Theatre, Southwark Playhouse

Design: Set
Diego Pitarch, Night of the Living Dead – Live!,
Pleasance
Justin Williams, Whistle Down the Wind, Union
Theatre
Lee Newby, The View UpStairs, Soho Theatre
Rachael Ryan, Thrill Me, Hope Theatre

Design: Sound
Benjamin Grant, The War of the Worlds, New Diorama
Lex Kosanke, Hunger, Arcola
Matt Eaton, All’s Well That Ends Well, Guildford Bard,
Jermyn Street Theatre
Xana, Blood Knot, Orange Tree

Design: Lighting
Christopher Nairne, Preludes, Southwark Playhouse
Clancy Flynn, An Act of God, Vaults
Jessica Hung Han Yun, Equus, English Touring Theatre,
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Nic Farman, Night of the Living Dead – Live!, Pleasance

Design: Video
Andrzej Goulding, The Unreturning, Theatre Royal
Stratford East
Ben Bull, Baby Reindeer, Bush Theatre
Douglas Baker, Moby Dick, Jack Studio Theatre Continue reading “The finalists of The Offies 2020”

Review: One Last Waltz, Greenwich Theatre

A delicate dance around the emotive subject of Alzheimer’s – One Last Waltz skips the light fantastic at Greenwich Theatre

“I have my photographs
I have my memories
That’s all I need”

A delicate dance around the emotive subject of Alzheimer’s, Luke Adamson’s One Last Waltz returns to London to the intimate studio space at Greenwich Theatre where it pulls no punches in exploring what this disease can do to even the closest of families, while somehow still maintaining a lightness of spirit that could match the Illuminations.

Alice is at that point in life where her friends keep dying, even the ones younger than her and now her husband has passed, there’s no hiding the fact that she keeps forgetting things. A trawl through some old family photos inspires her adult daughter Mandy to recreate a favourite holiday to Blackpool but not even the promise of the Tower ballroom can disguise her decline. Continue reading “Review: One Last Waltz, Greenwich Theatre”

Review: Lizzie, Greenwich Theatre

“In the house of Borden, there’s a lock on every door”

I’d be fibbing if I tried to claim that rock is my kind of music. Although even as I say that, I’ve a residual fondness for the big hair and tunes of Heart from my childhood, Skunk Anansie figured large in my teenage years, and seeing Peaches live at the Astoria is one of my all time live music highlights, so evidently I’m more partial to (female) rock than I instinctively realise. 

And maybe it’s just my frame of reference but elements of all three intermittently came to mind in Lizzie, written by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Alan Stevens Hewitt and Tim Maner. The storytelling of opener ‘The House of Borden’ is rooted in melodious soft rock, Eden Espinisa’s extraordinary vocal can’t help but bring to mind Skin at her fiercest and the chants of Somebody Will Do Something’ felt but a breath away from ‘Fuck the Pain Away’. Continue reading “Review: Lizzie, Greenwich Theatre”

Review: They Built It. No-One Came., Greenwich Theatre

“Neither of us were very charismatic.
&‘That was a problem'”

Inspired by a true story published in the New York Times, Fledgling Theatre Company’s They Built It. No-One Came. was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival last summer and has now resurfaced for a short run in Greenwich ahead of a UK tour starting in May. It’s the tale of two young men who, finding hostility to the love affair that blooms between them, opt out of society altogether to set up an “intentional community”, a commune by any other name, where they can create someplace new, someplace better.

It’s a tempting prospect, going back to nature and living in peace and harmony, but over a decade after setting up shop, Tobias and Alexander are still waiting for their first member to join them. So when eventually a troubled young man named Pablo does rock up, his integration into the lifestyle here is far from smooth sailing. And written by Callum Cameron, this awkwardness is given a brilliantly homespun, lo-fi treatment that is frequently hilarious. Continue reading “Review: They Built It. No-One Came., Greenwich Theatre”

Review: Gazing At A Distant Star, Greenwich Theatre

 “When you’re at uni, you think the salad in your kebab is your five-a-day and Marlboro Lights are a food group”

I do try and attend new writing nights here and there and I often ponder what, if anything, happens to the many works in progress that feature in their programmes. And in the case of Life Sentence by Siân Rowland, a short but powerful monologue I saw as part of this night at the Southwark Playhouse, I’m getting to see that development first-hand. Expanding on the larger theme of people going missing (this production supports the charity Missing People), Rowland has introduced two more monologues and intertwined the three together to create Gazing At A Distant Star

Call centre worker Arun is grinding through shift after shift to save for university, the only chink of light coming with his friendship with colleague Glen, but he’s not been seen for a week. Anna is training for a 5k run when a chance encounter brings memories of her long-disappeared sister come flooding back. And Karen’s wait for a postcard from her son, who is off on a lads holiday, is interrupted by a knock on the door from the police. As they each deal with the pieces of their shattered lives, so too are their stories fragmented as the narrative continually shifts between all three. Continue reading “Review: Gazing At A Distant Star, Greenwich Theatre”

Review: Altar Boyz, Greenwich Theatre

“Jesus called me on his cellphone”

A huge off-Broadway hit, Altar Boyz has taken its time to cross the pond but now Paul Taylor-Mills’ production has settled into Greenwich Theatre for a short run to help us cast off our sins. Hailing from small-town Ohio, the Altar Boyz are a Christian boyband who have reached the end of their ‘Raise the Praise’ tour and have one last concert in which to save as many souls as possible through the gift of their cheesy pop moves, confessional anecdotes and the divine technology of their ‘soul sensor’.

It would be easy to suggest that the music is blandly forgettable, the book laboured rather than funny as it just trifles with the notion of skewering this take on religion instead of actually lampooning it (Kevin Del Aguila, Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker all share credit for book, music and lyrics). And there’s truth in both propositions, but the strength of Steven Dexter’s direction and some highly astute work by casting director Will Burton means that the performance level elevates the material to a higher plane. Continue reading “Review: Altar Boyz, Greenwich Theatre”