Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2016

Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2016

Image-1Last night, the Evening Standard newspaper gave out there theatre awards at a black tie event at the Old Vic theatre.  These theatrical awards, presented by Rob Brydon, are now Britian’s longest running theatre awards, dating back to 1955.

Billie Piper was named best actress for her performance in Yerma at the Young Vic.  Her performance in Australian writer-director Simon Stone’s loose adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1934 classic was described by critics as “devastating: and “breathtakingly uninhibited”. She beat out fellow actresses. Noma Dumezweni (Linda), Helen McCrory (The Deep Blue Sea) and Sophie Melville (Iphigenia in Splott). My hope is that it will make it’s way over her to Broadway so I can relish in this stage performance, like my friend, Gus did in London.



Glenn Close claimed the best musical theatre performance for her return to Sunset Boulevard, a role that she did on Broadway in 1994, and will be bringing it back again this coming spring.  She beat out Sheridan Smith (Funny Girl) which I had the pleasure of seeing, although with her understudy, not with Smith (https://frontmezzjunkies.com/2016/07/15/funny-girl-london-theatrical-tour-part-2/) and Andy Karl (Groundhog Day) which is also on its way to Broadway. When Sunset Boulevard opens in February on this side of the pond, it will mean that Andrew Lloyd Webber will have four shows playing simultaneously: Sunset Boulevard, Cats, Phantom of the Opera and School of Rock. That’s got to be a record of some sort, doesn’t it? Maybe I need to reconsider and get myself a seat…

richard-lll-almeida-104-700x455Ralph Fiennes was named best actor for two different performances: Richard III at the Almeida and The Master Builder at the Old Vic. He beat out the following fantastic actors:  Ian McKellen (No Man’s Land), Kenneth Branagh (The Entertainer), James McArdle (Platonov) and OT Fagbenie (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).

Sir Kenneth Branagh did not go home empty handed though. He was presented with an  award in the name of the Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev for his company’s year long season at the Garrick. I was fortunate enough to see one of the shows, a starry Romeo and Juliet, but missed the one I truly wanted to see, Judy Dench in The Winter’s Tale. https://frontmezzjunkies.com/2016/07/19/romeo-and-juliet-london-theatrical-tour-part-3/

goodchanceThe editor’s award went to the young playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson for setting up a theatre in a very unlikely place, Calais’s now dismantled migrant camp. For this daring act, the presenter, Mark Rylance said that Good Chance represented the very best in us, especially “in these dark times when hate and fear of the other seem to becoming government policy.”  This was not the only jab at world politics, Patrick Stewart, after describing his public school education introduction to the arts said, “Let my story be an example to the prime minister … your elitist, two-tier secondary school policies won’t keep all underprivileged and therefore undeserving working class scum at the bottom of the heap. Some of us will have the impertinence to have ambition.”

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber also had a few things he wanted to say to the new Prime Minister upon accepting the Evening Standard and Radio 2 audience award for best musical: Regent’s Park Open Air theatrical production of Jesus Christ Superstar (a production I truly wish I had had the opportunity to see).  He stated, “Prime minister, if you are listening, can I passionately beg that you must stop cutting the arts in schools.”  I hope she was listening.


Tyrone Huntley, who played Judas in that production in the park, won the emerging talent award. Jesus Christ Superstar won out over Funny Girl (Menier Chocolate Factory/Savoy Theatre), Groundhog Day (Old Vic), Guys and Dolls (Savoy theatre/Phoenix Theatre), Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (National Theatre) and Sunset Boulevard (Coliseum).


The other big win, which I am sure will make its way over to Broadway, is the award for best new play.  It went to, not surprisingly, the two part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child co-written by Jack Thorne, JK Rowling and John Tiffany.  A show that got stellar reviews and incredible sales.  Cursed Child beat out Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2, & 3 by Suzan-Lori Parks (Royal Court),  and The Flick by Annie Baker (National Theatre).


John Malkovich won the award for best director beating out Cursed Child director John Tiffany and Dominic Cook (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). Zach Helm’s Good Canary was Malkovich’s London debut as director.  He had previously directed the play in Paris back in 2007.

4505Sean Mathias’s production of No Man’s Land by Harold Pinter, which starred McKellen and Steward won for best revival. Winning over Les Blancs (National Theatre), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (National Theatre), and Young Chekhov; Platonov, Ivanov & The Seagull (Chichester Festival Theatre/National Theatre).  Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin won for best design of the aural Amazonian play, The Encounter at the Barbican.  It first premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival before relocating to London’s West End, and now New York City’s Broadway. Here’s what I thought of that show: https://frontmezzjunkies.com/2016/09/29/the-encounter/

Charlene James won for most promising playwright for her play Cuttin’ It, and Sir David Attenborough won the first award of the night, presented by Prince William, for his outstanding contribution to broadcasting.  Here is a full list:

Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2016: The winners

Best Actor
Ralph Fiennes, The Master Builder (Old Vic) & Richard III (Almeida)

Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress
Billie Piper, Yerma (Young Vic)

Best Play with Hiscox, Official Arts Partner
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, co-written by Jack Thorne, JK Rowling & John Tiffany (Palace)

Best Musical Performance
Glenn Close, Sunset Boulevard (Coliseum)

Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical
Jesus Christ Superstar, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Milton Shulman Award for Best Director
John Malkovich, Good Canary (Rose Kingston)

Best Revival
No Man’s Land, Wyndham’s (dir Sean Mathias)

Best Design
Gareth Fry with Pete Malkin (sound design), The Encounter (Complicite/Edinburgh International Festival/Barbican)

Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright
Charlene James, Cuttin’ It (Young Vic/Royal Court)

Emerging Talent Award in Partnership with Burberry
Tyrone Huntley, Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)

Beyond Theatre Award
Sir David Attenborough for his contribution to broadcasting

Editor’s Award
Good Chance Theatre

Lebedev Award
Sir Kenneth Branagh for his Plays at the Garrick



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