9 posts categorized "Awards" Feed

Rev Stan's StOlivier theatre awards for 2016

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Sam Marks and David Tennant in Richard II for RSC Photo by Richard Termine

It was a year in which I trod the boards with Freddie Fox, Ruth Wilson threw flowers at me and Sam Cooke sang to me but these are mere trifles in a stellar year for theatre. So forget expert panels and public votes these are the only awards in theatre land that matter...

Best kiss This goes to Sam Marks and David Tennant in Richard II at the Barbican for a long, lingering kiss that spoke a thousand words. Still makes me emotional thinking about it.

Calamine lotion award During Bug at Found 111 one of the characters claims they can see insects on their skin and are constantly scratching and itching invisible bites. It was infectious, really made my skin crawl.

Stage blood award I'm wondering if Jamie Lloyd has Ben Nye shares because he didn't just have bloody wounds, he had Kit Harington's Dr Faustus take a shower in blood (in white pants for added effect).

David Attenborough award I'm giving this jointly to the Tamaskan dog which did a rather splendid job playing a wolf in The Crucible at the Walter Kerr Theatre and the real live fox which played...a fox in Unreachable Royal Court.

Non-animal 'ah' award This goes to Yerma for having a baby cameo. Don't think anyone in the audience heard a word that was being spoken as Billie Piper bounced the little cutie on her hip.

Suffering for art award As someone who feels the cold, I had massive sympathy and respect for Michael Socha and Tamla Kari in This Is Living as they performed the whole play in an inch depth of water - not just walking and standing but sitting and lying in it so they were sodden throughout.

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That was my year of theatre-going 2015: The StOlivier awards

89050759_9b7a9cb884_mThere are awards and then there are the StOliviers...

I'm only human award: This goes to Ben Whishaw who, during the Iliad live reading, mispronounced a name did a delightful giggle at his mistake before slipping straight back into character and carrying on. You can see the reading here (roughly 26 mins in for the giggle).

Best food fight: Cast of Rules for Living, National Theatre, who not only managed to mess up the stage but trod and smeared mashed potato into the carpet and on the drapes at all the exits from the Dorfman stage.

Scariest prop: For Carman Disruption at the Almeida I was sat on the front row not far from the life-sized, prone but visibly breathing bull. It was so realistic it freaked me a little bit. If it had moved its head or a leg you wouldn't have have seen me for dust.

Most accident prone production: Ah Wilderness! Young Vic. Props went flying and actors fell over, I wrote a post about it.

I didn't know you had that in you surprise performance award: Lots of surprises this year Tom Sturridge in American Buffalo, David Dawson in The Dazzled but the award goes Johnny Flynn in Hangmen for a performance that meant the first two words I said to Poly after the curtain call were 'Johnny Flynn' to which she replied 'I know'.

The bloody play of the year: The single stream of blood slowly rolling down the stage towards the audience at the end of  Macbeth, Young Vic, was great but the bloody highlight goes to the Almeida's Oresteia. Agamemnon is murdered and his spilled blood slowly seeps out in a growing pool from beneath his corpse.

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Rev Stan's Theatre blog StOlivier awards for 2014

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Champagne photo by Rev Stan

It was a year in which I was spat on, splattered with blood and humiliated - the things we audience members have to go through when watching a play. It was also the year of the dog with not one but two scene-stealing canine appearances (Two Gentlemen of Verona and Shakespeare in Love) and then, on my final theatre visit of the year, the 'ahhh-factor' ratcheted up a notch with a kitten stealing the show in Elephants. A kitten, yes. Actors don't bother speaking when there is a kitten on the stage, no one is listening.

But back to the matter in hand, yes, it is that time of year again; a time to honour and reflect on those moments that made up 2014's theatre highlights. And, a time to feel aghast all over again at some of the lowlights.

The long and short of it award

Down on the South Bank the Young Vic was having a little competition with itself over running times. Bam it hits us with a lithe, 2-hours straight-through A View From the Bridge then, pow, it counters that with a three hours 40 minutes Streetcar Named Desire. Maybe the latter was to stick one in the eye of neighbour Old Vic which at the time was running The Crucible at a good three and half hours long. I'd normally go for quality over quantity but for once the long plays got away with it.

Best use of a song

Last year was particularly notable for the use songs during plays (I'm not talking musicals). Lorde's Royals got used at the end of Charles III and then again during one of the James plays.

And I'm still haunted by the brilliant use of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game during Streetcar Named Desire. It's an ambiguous song in that it's not quite as romantic as the lyrics may initially imply. It was an ambiguity that worked perfectly for the sexually charged moment between Gillian Anderson's Blanche and Ben Foster's Stanley.

But neither of those songs gets the award, nope, it goes to David Bowie's Starman played during My Night With Reg. I'll never be able to listen to that song again without it conjuring up the bitter sweet 'dance' in Guy's flat. It was a laugh or cry moment and the song captured it perfectly.

 

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The highs and lows of 2013 in theatreland, it's the StOlivier awards

It's that time of year to recognise, reward or even just acknowledge those special moments from the last 12 months of theatre. First of all some goodbyes. The Old Vic Tunnels closed its doors and the Southwark Playhouse moved from under the arches at London Bridge to temporary space at Elephant Castle, which has a rather fine cafe bar area as it happens.

We also said goodbye, sort of, to Nicholas Hytner who is passing the keys of the National Theatre onto Rufus Norris in 2015 and Kevin Spacey also announced he will be leaving the Old Vic  in 2015. The later has promised to source funding for the renovation and expansion of the theatre including sorting out the ladies loos before he leaves. Dominic Cook also handed over the Royal Court to Vicky Featherstone who has had a mixed season thus far.

Several themes for this year, because all theatre people collude.  Firstly egg smashing  - Amen Corner, Cripple of Inishmaan and Children of the Sun. As fellow theatre blogger Nick says, all very wasteful in these days of food banks. And then there was the dangling actors by their ankles, not wasteful but there are only so many red-faces you can watch before the novelty wears off (Titus Andronicus, Let The Right One In, Mojo and Coriolanus).

And finally 'boy kissing', which has been a particular favourite Poly's. I've seen more man on man puckering up this year than the last three combined as the Best Kiss StOlivier will testify. And talking of which lets gets onto the awards which, you will soon notice I make up as I go along throughout the year:

The 'what on earth do they use for that?' award*

During The Low Road at the Royal Court, Johnny Flynn spits out the 'climax' of a blow job he'd just performed. Nice.

Best kiss

David Tennant puckers up with both Nigel Lyndsey and Oliver Rix in Richard II but his kisses are just runners up to Harry Haden-Paton and Al Weaver's with tongues snog in The Pride and John Heffernan and Kyle Soller's long, lingering lip-lock in Edward II.

Best waterworks

Sam Troughton for convincingly blubbing in just about every play he did during the Royal Court's weekly rep. He should give a masterclass.

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Probably the most important theatre awards of 2012: The StOliviers

It's that time again, or rather I have time on hands, so here we go, here are my awards for this year's good and bad behaviour and some of things that stood out (and no that isn't a euphemism for Tom Colley, or maybe it is ;0):

The bite the hand that feeds you award:

Royal Court. Jez Butterworth's new play. No advance tickets for paying members. (Royal Court's collection of StOlivier's for pissing off those that fork out for membership is growing)

Highly commended: Donmar's £10 front row seats not on sale to members in advance.

The 'Oh hello' moment of the year award:

No contest on this one, the aforementioned Tom Colley wandering around the stage naked with the body of a Greek god in Judas Kiss. Rupert Everett you lucky, lucky man having to stare at that every night. Lucky man. *Sighs*.

Health and safety nightmare award:

It is challenging enough appearing on stage, there are the lines to remember, the performance, the marks to hit, the props etc without set designers giving you trip hazards all over the place.

Runner up for this goes to designer Dale Ferguson for putting crumpled velvet all over the Hampstead Theatre stage in Judas Kiss. Cue: actors obviously stepping very carefully so as not to stumble or trip (and they did on occasion).

But the winner is Lucy Osborn who put sand on the stage for Berenice at the Donmar. Walking on sand in sandals with purpose and dignity? Even in bare feet Ann Marie Duff stumbled. And then there was the scene in which Stephen Campbell Moore had to deliver an impassioned speech, kneeling before Duff while all the time one knee was slowly sliding down a hollow in the sand.  Thank goodness he finished the speech before he did himself a groin injury.

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Evening Standard theatre awards shortlist: Stan's choices and predictions

Evening Standard announced the shortlist for its annual theatre awards today or the BAFTA's to the Olivier's Oscars as I like to think of it. Here's my pick of winners and which I think will win - I've omitted anything musical/production related and those categories where I've only seen one out of the three shortlisted plays.

BEST PLAY

  • Constellations by Nick Payne (Royal Court Upstairs)
  • Love and Information by Caryl Churchill  (Royal Court Downstairs)
  • This House by James Graham (National’s Cottesloe)

 Stan's choice: Love and Information is my least favourite of the three - it gave me a headache. This House was very good but I think Constellations was clever and moving.

And the winner: Probably be Love and Information just because it Caryl Churchill and it was so different and clever (but it still gave me a headache)

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Carrie Cracknell for A Doll’s House (Young Vic)
  • Nicholas Hytner for Timon of Athens (National’s Olivier)
  • James Macdonald for Love and Information (Royal Court Downstairs)
  • Ian Rickson for Hamlet (Young Vic)

Stan's choice: Even though it isn't my favourite I think James Macdonald should win just for the sheer logistics of directing a play of that scope and variety.

And the winner: Love and Information. For reasons I've mentioned above. I think Hamlet and A Doll's House were quite devisive and therefore that will count them out and although Timon was fab not sure it was Hytner's best and award winning work.

BEST ACTOR

  • Simon Russell Beale, Collaborators (National’s Cottesloe)
  • Charles Edwards, The King’s Speech (Wyndham’s) and This House  (National’s Cottesloe)
  • Adrian Lester, Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre)
  • Luke Treadaway, The Curious Incident of the Dog in theNight-time, (National Theatre’s Cottesloe)

Stan's choice: Have only seen SRB, Treadaway and Edwards in This House, in this category. I've heard good things about Lester but as I haven't seen Red Velvet I have to eliminate him from my choice. It's down to SRB and Treadaway. I loved both performances very much and both plays, saw them twice in fact but I think if push came to shove then Treadaway but just by a hair.

And the winner: I have a feeling that Lester will be in with a good chance but he'll be up against Treadaway. It'll definitely be one of those two.

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Olivier Awards shortlist - predictions and omissions (and now the results)

Everyone else has already mulled over the Olivier Awards shortlist I'm sure but I'm not one to miss an opportunity to put in my own two-penneth.

So here are some of my thoughts on the contenders, my predictions for the winners and those I think were shamefully missed off.  (And now with the results added in)

Best New Play

Contenders:

Jumpy - I enjoyed it very much critics were more mixed, not sure I would give it an award though

Ladykillers - Memorable more for the set than the play which was entertaining enough but not the funniest thing around in the West End in the last 12 months.

One Man Two Guvnors - Enjoyed, probably even more second time around when could pay more attention to witty script. Yes this should be here.

Collaborators - Loved this. Very clever as well as funny,  well deserves its place.

OMISSION?  Well most of the new writing I've seen isn't in the West End so I can't add anything that would qualify for this category.

AND THE WINNER IS? I'd like it to be Collaborators but I think it will be One Man Two Guvnors. Hurrah it was the Collaborators

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The most important theatre awards (after the Whingies*): The StOliviers 2011

That's the sound of me jumping on the awards bandwagon again and lets face it the only ones I'll ever wholly agree with are my own. So here is my attempt to honour (and dishonour) the theatre world for it's work and effort (or lack of it) in 2011...

The 'Ooo hello' moment award:

Jude-law-anna-christie-prodution-photosJude Law, Anna Christie

Boat in a storm. A drenched Jude Law struggles aboard and then immediately takes his top off revealing a torso so buff I had to stifle a gasp. I know I'm not alone in this (click on pic for full size). 

Highly commended: The shirt-ripping Oliver Rix and Alex Hassell in Cardenio dubbed Phwoar Cardenio here at the vicarage.

The keeping fake blood manufacturers in business award

Propeller for Richard III

Propeller leads the way when it comes to gore in fact they laugh in the face of dry stabs or armpit stabs. And they don't just stab, they chop and saw and spray, spray, spray stage blood by the bucket loads. 

The upstaged award

The Ladykillers, Gielgud Theatre

When you urge people to go and see a play because the set and what is does is amazing, it does stop and make you think.

The living on a different planet:

Royal Court theatre

Hello marketing/ticket sales/admin people at the Royal Court *waves*. In the world of real people, working normal jobs (that's jobs that start at 9 just in case you weren't aware) we don't reveal details of our new season online at 7am and then put the tickets on sale at 9am as this leaves only 2 hours to organise friends and suitable dates at a time when you are getting ready and going to work. 

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Mark Rylance versus Whatsonstage Awards

By guest writer polyg

Alas, it's not what you think. Mark Rylance didn't attack the Whatsonstage Awards, or indeed the Whatsonstage Awards didn't attack Mark Rylance. But today, among theatre lovers, it's the only two things worth talking about.

Mark Rylance is coming back to the Globe next summer, to play Richard III (or Dick the Shit, as Kevin Spacey calls him) and Olivia in an all-male production of the Twelfth Night. I have had enough of Richard III lately (and for me, Richard Clothier made more of a lasting impression than Kevin Spacey), but Mark Rylance anywhere is a big event, and Mark Rylance at the Globe is huge. If that wasn't enough, the prospect of an all-male Twelfth Night is mouth watering. I missed the original production in 2002, and I don't intend to make the same mistake. Back then, Ed Redmayne had his first big break as Viola, who will play the role this time? (Freddie Fox, if the rumours are true).

And of course, today the Whatsonstage Awards Nominees were announced. At the best of times, I have conflicted feelings towards awards, as they often miss the point entirely. But strangely enough, reading the nominations, I don't feel as irate as I normally feel. Granted, the nominations lean towards the big and the popular (bigger names, bigger productions), but that was a given, and there is a lot I can get behind: Matilda, Jumpy, Collaborators, Tamsin Greig, David Tennant, Sheridan Smith, Josie Rourke, Bertie Carvel, The Passion on the streets of Port Talbot, to name a few. I can live with that.

And I am very happy for at least one nomination: Mark Gatiss in Season's Greetings has been one of my favourite performances in the last year, funny, heartbreaking, fragile. But when it was time to vote, I forgot about it (I voted for Paul Higgins in Luise Miller instead). I don't necessarily regret my vote, but Mark Gatiss deserves all the recognition he can get.