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 Supporting Actress in a Play + in a Musical

Best Supporting Actress in a Play

Ayesha Dharker, The Book of Dust 
Ruth Wilson’s televisual take on Mrs Coulter is one of my favourite things in life so for Dharker to find an interpretation that complemented yet contrasted so effectively is quite something. Stunning costume work certainly helped but she located the perfect combination of compelling and chilling for me.  

Honourable mention: Norah Lopez Holden, Hamlet 
A fascinatingly different take on Ophelia that really worked by finding an affecting emotional truth to the character that I’ve rarely seen done before.

Liz Carr, The Normal Heart
Deborah Findlay, Romeo and Juliet
Anastasia Hille, Paradise
Gloria Obianyo, Paradise

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

Carly Mercedes Dyer, Anything Goes 
Against the star wattage of Sutton Foster, Dyer more than held her own as gangster’s moll Erma, full of vocal confidence and scene-stealing comic timing. And she impressed mightily in A Chorus Line too, a standout year for this most exciting of performers. 

Honourable mention: Victoria Hamilton-Barritt & Rebecca Trehearn, Cinderella  
As I said at the time, we’d all be winners if the musical was called The Stepmother and the Queen. Two larger-than-life scene-chewing turns that give the show so much of its life.

Emily Barnett-Salter, A Chorus Line
Kaisa Hammarlund, She Loves Me
Joanna Riding, Carousel

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

2021 What’s On Stage Award nominations

The nominations for the 22nd Annual WhatsOnStage Awards have been announced 

Voting is open now, closing on Friday 21 January 2022, with the winners being announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday 27 February 2022. Write-in votes for Sutton Foster should be sent forthwith.

BEST PERFORMER IN A MALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Roger Bart – Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre
Olly Dobson – Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre
Arinzé Kene – Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre
Julian Ovenden – South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre
Eddie Redmayne – Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre – Kit Kat Club
Ivano Turco – Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

BEST PERFORMER IN A FEMALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Aimie Atkinson – Pretty Woman, Piccadilly Theatre & Savoy Theatre
Samantha Barks – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Jessie Buckley – Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre – Kit Kat Club
Carrie Hope Fletcher – Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Beverley Knight – The Drifters Girl, Garrick Theatre
Stephanie McKeon – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane Continue reading “2021 What’s On Stage Award nominations”

News: Andrew Lloyd Webber to host a special gala performance of Cinderella with Malala Yousafzai

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit new musical Cinderella is to hold a special gala performance to raise money for Malala Yousafzai’s work to empower women and girls around the world.

With the backdrop of a worsening global refugee crisis, which has interrupted the education of millions of young women, Malala Fund wants those who have lost everything to retain access to the opportunities they need to build a better future.

More than 130 million girls are out of school today and Malala Fund is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead through access to a free, safe and quality education. Continue reading “News: Andrew Lloyd Webber to host a special gala performance of Cinderella with Malala Yousafzai”

Review: Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber puts his name front and centre with this new version of Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, if only it was worth it…

“The only thing I’ve learnt from you is to be a completely heartless bitch”

If this were a show about Cinderella’s stepmother and the Queen of Belleville, then I think Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new show Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella might stand a fighting chance. Between them, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt and Rebecca Trehearn effortessly chew up the stage at the Gillian Lynne Theatre and steal pretty much every scene they’re in, climaxing in a brilliantly spiky and knowing duet.

Problem is, they’re trying to present a modernised version of the classic fairytale and not even an Academy Award-winning writer can really square this obstinate circle. Emerald Fennell’s take on Cinderella is to make her a goth in a picture-perfect, beauty-obsessed town and the first thing we see this Cinders do is graffiti a statue of Prince Charming (who is missing presumed dead and the brother of her best pal – apparently being a goth also means being a heartless bitch…). Continue reading “Review: Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre”

News: World Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella set for 25 August 2021

The Really Useful Group today announce that, after a period of enforced closure, the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella will be on Wednesday 25 August. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, written by Academy Award winning Emerald Fennell (Best Original Screenplay Oscar in April 2021) and with lyrics from David Zippel, the brand new musical will resume performances at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on Wednesday 18 August. Previews initially began on Friday 25 June 2021, before another period of closure due to Covid-19 isolation protocols. Continue reading “News: World Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella set for 25 August 2021”

First look at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella

By hook or by crook, Andrew Lloyd Webber was going to get Cinderella to the ball and the show is now in previews, albeit with the social distancing that he had previously promised to get himself locked up over. Now the posturing is over, the attention can turn to the show, with a new score by the lord, plus lyrics by David Zippel and a script from Killing Eve’s Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell.

Carrie Hope Fletcher is the lead but it is Victoria Hamilton-Barritt and Rebecca Trehearn for whom I’m most excited. These tasters pics from Johan Persson give an idea of how the show looks at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, revealing some amazing costume work.

Continue reading “First look at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella”

News: Cinderella reveals the full cast who will be going to the ball

The Really Useful Group has announced the full cast for the forthcoming production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, book by Academy Award winning Emerald Fennell (Best Original Screenplay Oscar at last Sunday’s ceremony) and lyrics from David Zippel. The brand new musical will open at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on Wednesday 14 July 2021, with previews from Friday 25 June 2021.

Joining the previously announced cast will be Rebecca Trehearn, who will play The Queen, Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin as Cinderella’s stepsisters Marie and Adele and Gloria Onitiri, who will play The Godmother. They join Carrie Hope Fletcher, as title character Cinderella in the highly anticipated new production, as well as Ivano Turco as Prince Sebastian and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt playing The Stepmother. Continue reading “News: Cinderella reveals the full cast who will be going to the ball”

Graduates at Cadogan Hall concert #2

Round 2 of Graduates at Cadogan Hall sees a second set of 13 performers from the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes getting the chance to showcase their talents that COVID-19 so cruelly robbed them of. And as with the first concert, we’re doing things a little differently – click on an image below to read mini reviews of each and every one.

Presented by a chirpy Luke Bayer with messages of support from Bonnie Langford, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Oliver Tompsett and Sophie Thompson, this initiative from Ameena Hamid Productions and The Grad Fest is such a bright, uplifting thing and with plans for reopening theatreland creeping onto the schedule as well, feels full of hope.    Continue reading “Graduates at Cadogan Hall concert #2”