|Best Actress in a Play||Michelle Terry, Tribes||Nancy Carroll, After the Dance||Zoë Wanamaker, All My Sons
Helen McCrory, The Late Middle Classes
Miranda Raison, Anne Boleyn
Sophie Thompson, Clybourne Park
|Best Actor in a Play||John Heffernan, Love Love Love||Benedict Cumberbatch, After the Dance||Jacob Casselden, Tribes
David Suchet, All My Sons
Roger Allam, Henry IV Part I + II
Andrew Scott, Design for Living
|Best Supporting Actress in a Play||Rachael Stirling, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rose, Kingston)||Jemima Rooper, All My Sons||Jessica Raine, Earthquakes in London
Sylvestra Le Touzel, Les Parents Terribles
Clare Higgins, Hamlet (NT)
Madeleine Potter, Broken Glass
|Best Supporting Actor in a Play||Robin Soans, Palace of the End||Nigel Lindsay, Broken Glass||Adrian Scarborough, After the Dance
Eddie Redmayne, Red
Stephen Campbell Moore, All My Sons
William Gaunt, Henry IV Part I + II
|Best Actress in a Musical||Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow||Emma Williams, Love Story||Cora Bissett, Midsummer
Sheridan Smith, Legally Blonde
Katie Moore, Salad Days
Kirsty Hoiles, Spend! Spend! Spend!
|Best Actor in a Musical||Sam Harrison, Salad Days||Jon-Paul Hevey, Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi||John Owen-Jones, Les Misérables
Alan Richardson, Iolanthe
Matthew Pidgeon, Midsummer
Dean Charles Chapman, Billy Elliot
|Best Supporting Actress in a Musical||Hannah Waddingham, Into the Woods||Jodie Jacobs, State Fair||Karen Mann, Spend! Spend! Spend!
Siobhan McCarthy, The Drowsy Chaperone
Jill Halfpenny, Legally Blonde
Twinnie Lee Moore, Flashdance
|Best Supporting Actor in a Musical||Michael Xavier, Into the Woods||Matthew James Willis, Iolanthe||Tom Parsons, Avenue Q
Michael Howe, The Drowsy Chaperone
Liam Tamne, Departure Lounge
Earl Carpenter, Les Misérables
Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Rachael Stirling, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
That voice! That voice! I could listen to Stirling read the telephone directory and it would be a happy day. And it is remarkable that in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that saw Dame Judi Dench taking on the role of Titania once again, it was Stirling from whom I could not tear my eyes. She brought such fiery warmth to her Helena, a great clarity to her verse speaking but her best moments for me (ironically) were when she was not speaking but reacting to the Rude Mechanicals’ efforts where she was just gorgeous to watch, almost stealing the show from an extremely funny Pyramus and Thisbe. You can currently catch her in An Ideal Husband, which finishes in February.
Honourable Mention: Jemima Rooper, All My Sons
Playing against such heavyweights as Suchet and Wanamaker both delivering stellar performances, one could have forgiven Rooper and Stephen Campbell Moore for slacking a little bit in their supporting roles in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. But part of what made this production such a monster success was the strength of their own performances, standing up to these heavyweight talents and delivering their own great turns. Rooper’s face-off with Wanamaker was one of my favourite scenes of the year. Rooper is currently in Me and My Girl in Sheffield, and I’m going in early January!
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Hannah Waddingham, Into the Woods
I first lost my heart to Hannah Waddingham in A Little Night Music a couple of years back, but this year she really confirmed her place as one of my most favourite musical theatre actresses with four stellar performances that I was lucky enough to see. Rocking the Menier Chocolate Factory with her own cabaret was massive amounts of fun; appearing at Wilton’s Music Hall as part of a charity gala was lovely (and possibly her best rendition of ‘Send in the Clowns’ yet); her contribution to Anton Stephans’ concert Grateful, singing Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Coming Together’ with Stephans was one of those indescribable moments of bliss, but in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, in a cleverly designed production at the Open Air Theatre, she excelled as the Witch. Whether hunched over as the disguised crone or standing statuesquely tall post-transformation, she sang beautifully and precisely, really demonstrating herself to be, alongside co-star Jenna Russell, as one of the best interpreters of Sondheim in a year when we heard so very much of his works. She will evidently spend most of next year in The Wizard of Oz but I hope Lloyd-Webber is coming up with some crackers for her to sing as the Wicked Witch of the West is not a part best known for its songs. Now I just need to her to look at me, just once, as she sings the line ‘there ought to be clowns’ and I would die a happy man!
Honourable Mention: Jodie Jacobs, State Fair
Again, a bit of a recognition of a body of work for the year here as Jacobs managed the not inconsiderable feat of appearing in three different musicals in as many months: Bright Lights Big City, Me & Juliet and the revival of State Fair at the Trafalgar Studios, this latter of which was my favourite of all her performances and one of my highlights of the year. As Emily, the showgirl with a heart and a wise head, she shone in the tiny Studio 2, revelling in the heady flirtations with Karl Clarkson’s dopey farm-boy, dazzling with her own burlesque-inspired routine and hoofing with the best of them in the numerous glorious ensemble numbers. People around the country will be able to see her next year in the touring production of Footloose (I think), but I hope it is not too long before she hits London’s stages again.
THE SPOTLIGHT BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Zoe Wanamaker – All My Sons at the Apollo
Helen McCrory – The Late Middle Classes at the Donmar Warehouse
Jenny Jules – Ruined at the Almeida
Kim Cattrall – Private Lives at the Vaudeville
Nancy Carroll – After the Dance at the National, Lyttelton
Tracie Bennett – End of the Rainbow at Trafalgar Studios
THE SPOTLIGHT BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY
David Suchet – All My Sons at the Apollo
Benedict Cumberbatch – After the Dance at the National, Lyttelton
Matthew Macfadyen – Private Lives at the Vaudeville
Rory Kinnear – Hamlet at the National, Olivier & Measure for Measure at the Almeida
Simon Russell Beale – Deathtrap at the Noel Coward & London Assurance at the National, Olivier
Toby Stephens – The Real Thing at the Old Vic Continue reading “2011 What’s On Stage Award nominations”
“Some girls fight hard; some face the trial”
I have tickets for Legally Blonde – The Musical later this month after the cast change as the final part of my trip round the musicals, but when a friend offered me a last second ticket on a cold dark night, I thought why not and decided to give this show another whirl. A more detailed review of the show can be found here, this will focus more on the performances this time round. The cast is largely the same, Richard Fleeshman being the only major change having taken over from Duncan James, but I saw Andy Mace as Professor Callaghan, on for an indisposed Peter Davison.
This really is Sheridan Smith’s show: her energy and vivacity drive proceedings on so effortlessly and naturally and she really is a gifted comic performer, getting the laughs in throughout, but also finding real emotional depth too. There was some unfortunate unscripted drama as she injured her shoulder (apparently nothing serious and not a dislocation as someone reported on Twitter) midway through the first half and the lights came back up as we anxiously waited to find out what would happen. She eventually resurfaced and continued bravely though in some discomfort, perversely lending the finale of Act I a real gritty, tear-jerking quality. An extended interval led us to suspect an understudy would appear, but to her credit, Smith finished the show and her second half performance showed no sign of the injury. I applaud her for continuing on and not wanting to disappoint her audience (who reciprocated with a raucous standing ovation) but I do worry about the physical toll this role is taking on her body, especially as she has now extended to January: it really is a demanding part, Elle is rarely off the stage and sings in the vast majority of the songs. Continue reading “Re-Review: Legally Blonde – The Musical, Savoy Theatre”
“This odd diversity of misery and joy”
The Great British Songbook series of concerts, devised by Neil Marcus, have previously featured Maria Friedman and Kerry Ellis in the past and now it is Jill Halfpenny’s turn to present her interpretations of British songwriting, both old and new, at Wilton’s Music Hall as part of their cabaret programming, Live at Wilton’s. Halfpenny has taken a few days leave from her regular gig in Legally Blonde and also nabbed her co-star Chris Ellis-Stanton for moral and vocal support.
hings got off to a shaky start: her version of ‘Pure Imagination’ was not the strongest and awkwardly stretched across her range (also not helped by my memory of a recent superb version by Anton Stephans) but when she did the whole cheesy welcome bit in the middle of the song and then continued singing, my heart sank as it felt like this was going to be a glossy, overly polished cabaret act, completely ill-suited to the venue. Fortunately, the end of the second song saw her revert to a pleasant normal personality whilst chatting to the audience but for whatever reason, this resulted in me ending up being hypercritical for most of the show and my notes were almost all negative. Continue reading “Review: Jill Halfpenny Celebrates the Great British Songbook, Wilton’s Music Hall”
“You can’t come in here with all your singing, dancing and…ethnic movements”
If Priscilla Queen of the Desert was the marshmallow on top of the whipped cream on top of your cocoa, then Legally Blonde is the full mug of the best Viennese hot chocolate you can imagine. Sticking closely to the story of the film, with just a little streamlining, we follow Elle Woods, a Malibu princess and sorority queen whose world is rocked when her boyfriend leaves her for Harvard Law School and the pursuit of someone more ‘serious’. Elle then follows him but ends up finding out a lot more about herself than she anticipated. The book is completely original and I found it surprisingly good, the opening numbers of ‘Ohmigod you guys’ and ‘What you want’ were both great tunes, ‘Ohmigod’ in particular will not leave your head for hours! There are of course some weaker numbers in there, but never any boring ones which is achievement enough. Continue reading “Review: Legally Blonde The Musical, Savoy”
Unfortunately, I wasn’t as mad keen on the rest of the show around her which disappointed on a few levels. Anna Montanaro’s Velma Kelly was vocally quite weak and lyrically very unclear, French looked like her was just going through the motions and there was not a lot of cohesion in the chorus, most of them look gorgeous and buff but there were rarely synchronised well. Maybe this is because I had the film in my mind throughout, but ultimately this production did feel a little shabby.