Critics’ Circle Awards 2022: the winners in full

Best new play
Best of Enemies, Young Vic Theatre, London

Best musical
Spring Awakening, Almeida Theatre, London

Best actor
Ben Daniels for The Normal Heart, National Theatre, London

Best actress
Jessie Buckley for Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre, London

Best Shakespearean performance
Cush Jumbo for Hamlet, Young Vic Theatre, London

Best director
Rebecca Frecknall for Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre, London

Best designer 
Tom Scutt for Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre, London

Most promising playwright
Zadie Smith for The Wife of Willesden, Kiln Theatre, London
Igor Memic for Old Bridge, Bush Theatre, London

Most promising newcomer
Stuart Thompson for Spring Awakening, Almeida Theatre, London
Samuel Creasey for The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, Bridge Theatre, London

Commendations for exceptional theatremaking during lockdown
National Theatre
Jermyn Street Theatre
Original Theatre Company
Old Vic Theatre
Nica Burns 

2022 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations

Not a lot to complain about for once (The Drifters Girl aside), this set of Olivier Award nominations read pretty much OK, though you do wish they’d open the categories to five nominees given how much talent there is to recognise. Anyone you would have added?

Best revival
A Number at the Old Vic
Constellations – Donmar Warehouse at Vaudeville Theatre
The Normal Heart at National Theatre – Olivier
The Tragedy Of Macbeth at Almeida Theatre

Best entertainment or comedy play
The Choir Of Man at Arts Theatre
Pantoland at the Palladium at the London Palladium
Pride And Prejudice* (*Sort Of) at Criterion Theatre
The Shark is Broken at Ambassadors Theatre Continue reading “2022 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations”

2021 BroadwayWorld UK Awards Shortlist

Best Leading Performer in a New Production of a Musical
Arinzé Kene, Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre
Beverley Knight, The Drifters Girl, Garrick Theatre
Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Dianne Pilkington, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, UK Tour
Eddie Redmayne, Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre
Ivano Turco, Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Jessie Buckley, Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre
Julian Ovenden, South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre
Olly Dobson, Back to the Future: The Musical, Adelphi Theatre
Stephanie McKeon, Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Sutton Foster, Anything Goes, Barbican
Tom Francis, Rent, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester Continue reading “2021 BroadwayWorld UK Awards Shortlist”

10 top theatrical moments of 2021

As distinct from my favourite shows of the year, this list celebrates the fact that sometimes the good and the not-so-good co-exist right next to each – some of my favourite moments.

For reference, here’s my 2020 list, 2019 list, 2018 list, 2017 list2016 list2015 list and 2014 list.

Helen McCrory, in memoriam
I still don’t really have the words to talk about how sad the passing of Helen McCrory is, such a favourite actor of mine for so long. But what was joyful was hearing the absolute esteem in which seemingly every one of her colleagues held her, a testament to the person as well as the performer.

Being scared, by women
After having declared that scary theatre just didn’t work for me, the Terrifying Women made me eat my words in quite some style with their Halloween special. Continue reading “10 top theatrical moments of 2021”

2021 Best Actress in a Play + in a Musical

Best Actress in a Play

Sophie Melville, Mum 
There’s something about being completely wrong-footed by a production that is truly exciting. Though Mum had put its cards on the table, the sheer intensity of Melville’s utterly committed performance as a new mother completely swept me up as we raced headlong to that rug-pull. A performance (and a show) worthy of more attention.

Honourable mention: Cush Jumbo, Hamlet 
If another Hamlet wasn’t necessarily what I was most excited for, the return of Jumbo to the UK stage was worth the wait, calling back to her days at the Royal Exchange as well as showing us all how intelligent an actor she is becoming.

Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Lava
Jessie Buckley, Romeo and Juliet
Julie Hesmondhalgh, Still Life
Lesley Sharp, Paradise

Best Actress in a Musical

Sutton Foster, Anything Goes 
And to think we were meant to have Megan Mullally…  No disrespect at all to Karen Walker but the breathless 10 minute song and dance routine that closes the first act is just spectacular and matched with the way Foster commands the stage, as a true Broadway diva, this was one of the highlights of the year.

Honourable mention: Linzi Hateley, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
The song might say that any dream will do but for me, the return of ‘the’ narrator after 30 years was the tops. A real full circle moment and a truly special, unmatchable afternoon in the theatre.

Samantha Barks/Stephanie McKeon, Frozen
Jessie Buckley, Cabaret
Carly Mercedes Dyer, A Chorus Line
Alex Young, She Loves Me

fosterIAN awards 2021

 WinnerRunner-upOther nominees
Best Actress in a PlaySophie Melville, MumCush Jumbo, HamletRonkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Lava
Jessie Buckley, Romeo and Juliet
Julie Hesmondhalgh, Still Life
Lesley Sharp, Paradise
Best Actor in a Play
Omari Douglas/Russell Tovey, ConstellationsBen Daniels, The Normal HeartCharles Edwards, Best of Enemies
Dickon Farmar, Gay Generations
Josh O'Connor, Romeo and Juliet
Jack Sunderland, DJ Bazzer’s Year 6 Disco
Best Supporting Actress in a PlayAyesha Dharker, The Book of DustNorah Lopez Holden, HamletLiz Carr, The Normal Heart
Deborah Findlay, Romeo and Juliet
Anastasia Hille, Paradise
Gloria Obianyo, Paradise
Best Supporting Actor in a PlayDino Fetscher, The Normal HeartPip Carter, The Book of DustSyrus Lowe, Best of Enemies
Daniel Monks, The Normal Heart
Lucian Msamati, Romeo and Juliet
Luke Norris, The Normal Heart
Best Actress in a MusicalSutton Foster, Anything GoesLinzi Hateley, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatSamantha Barks/Stephanie McKeon, Frozen
Jessie Buckley, Cabaret
Carly Mercedes Dyer, A Chorus Line
Alex Young, She Loves Me
Best Actor in a MusicalEddie Redmayne, CabaretNoel Sullivan, The RhythmicsDeclan Bennett, Carousel
Adam Cooper, Singin' in the Rain
Scott Mackie, The Off Key
David Thaxron, She Loves Me
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Carly Mercedes Dyer, Anything GoesVictoria Hamilton-Barritt & Rebecca Trehearn, CinderellaEmily Barnett-Salter, A Chorus Line
Kaisa Hammarlund, She Loves Me
Joanna Riding, Carousel
Best Supporting Actor in a MusicalAinsley Hall Ricketts, A Chorus LineRobert Lindsay, Anything GoesStewart Clarke, Be More Chill
Andy Coxon, She Loves Me
Elliot Levey, Cabaret
Obioma Ugoala, Frozen

Review: Hamlet, Young Vic

Cush Jumbo is excellent, and there’s a great Ophelia, but do we really need another Hamlet? Three hours plus at the Young Vic will soon tell you

“The time is out of joint”

At the risk of sounding like Brenda from Bristol, my initial reaction to hearing of another “highly-anticipated production of Shakespeare’s great tragedy” is rarely one of too much excitement. But the Young Vic’s Hamlet has quite the trump card up its sleeve, in the return of Cush Jumbo to the theatrical stage after nailing transatlantic TV success in shows like The Good Fight

It is 10 years or so now since getting to see Jumbo fairly regularly at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, her talent obvious to see even then in productions of As You Like It and Pygmalion. And with frequent collaborator Greg Hersov at the helm, it is little surprise that her presence here is nigh on revelatory, a high-wattage performance that electrifies the play almost anew. Continue reading “Review: Hamlet, Young Vic”

TV Review: The Good Fight Series 5

The loss of Cush Jumbo is big but The Good Fight easily survives without Lucca, Series 5 focusing on a battle royale between Diane and Liz

“Let’s split the firm down the middle”

The Good Fight really does feel like some of the smartest writing on US TV at the moment, able to co-opt the most contemporary of references but still fold them into the fabric of the show so they never feel extraneous. After a COVID-truncated fourth season, Series 5 carries on in that same vein and is a delight to watch.

A brilliantly conceived series opener takes the form of a series of recaps which allows the show to eloquently cover the pandemic, the George Floyd protests and Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing, as well as bidding Lucca goodbye and introducing two new junior lawyers to the firm, one of whom just happens to be a fast-tracked Marissa. Continue reading “TV Review: The Good Fight Series 5”

August casting update

 

Linda Bassett and John Heffernan have been cast in Caryl Churchill’s new play What If If Only, which will be directed by James Macdonald. With set design by Miriam Buether, lighting design by Prema Mehta, sound design by Christopher Shutt and assistant direction from Grace Duggan.

What If If Only will run in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from Wednesday 29 September 2021 – Saturday 23 October 2021. Performances run Monday – Saturday at 6pm, plus Friday 8, 15 & 22 October 2021 at 10pm. The running time is a lush 14 minutes. Continue reading “August casting update”