Evening Standard unveiled the long list for its theatre awards today and for the first time I'm in a position to say I've seen a large chunk of those non-musical nominees. So of the ones I've seen who do I think should win?
Richard Clothier, Richard III; James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors; Benedict Cumberbatch, Frankenstein; Ralph Fiennes, The Tempest; Harry Hadden-Paton, Flare Path; Derek Jacobi, King Lear;Jude Law, Anna Christie; Jonny Lee Miller, Frankenstein; Kevin Spacey, Richard III; Dominic West, Butley
Stan's winner: Strong category, lots of great performances. Harry H-P, Derek Jacobi, Jude Law and Jonny Lee Miller were all very good and gave performances that helped earn the plays five star reviews from me but the first name I looked for on the list is Richard Clothier as Richard III. His partner Tara Fitzgerald was asked to pick her most memorable theatre moment by an interviewer and she chose seeing Richard III because she completely forgot that she knew him.
Haydn Gwynne, Richard III; Lesley Manville, Grief; Sheridan Smith, Flare Path; Samantha Spiro, Chicken Soup with Barley; Imelda Staunton, A Delicate Balance; Michelle Terry, Tribes; Tracey Ullman, My City; Ruth Wilson, Anna Christie
Stan's choice: The problem with this category is that there are far fewer good meaty stage roles for actresses than there are for actors, so there aren't quite as many stunning performances to choose from. Nonetheless, standouts for me include Samantha Spiro, Michelle Terry, Ruth Wilson and Imelda Staunton who was pretty much the life and soul of A Delicate Balance. But I think I'm going to have to give it to Sheridan Smith whose chin trembling performance in Flare Path has stuck with me (I saw the play twice because I loved it so much).
Rob Ashford, Anna Christie; Danny Boyle, Frankenstein; Dominic Cooke, Chicken Soup with Barley; Michael Grandage, Luise Miller; Edward Hall, Richard III & The Comedy of Errors; Mike Leigh, Grief; Sam Mendes, Richard III; Roger Michell, Tribes; Trevor Nunn, Flare Path; Bijan Sheibani, The Kitchen; Max Stafford-Clark, Top Girls; Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors.
Stan's choice: As I was going down the list for the first time I started to think, 'I'm never going to be able to choose, there is too much good stuff'. I loved the work that went into Anna Christie, Tribes, Flare Path and One Man Two Guvnors but then I saw Ed Hall and his double bill of Comedy of Errors and Richard III. He demonstrated such imagination, vision and skill that he has to be my number one choice. He can be credited with changing my view of Shakespeare's comedies by making Comedy of Errors by making it really funny from start to finish.
I've seen four of the seven on the list: The Heretic (Royal Court) Richard Bean; One Man, Two Guvnors (National's Lyttelton) Richard Bean; Wittenberg (Gate) David Davalos; Tribes
(Royal Court) Nina Raine
Stan's choice: Again another great selection but without a doubt the one that stands out for me is Wittenberg which I loved for its wit and cleverness and great use of a small space.
Outside the main categories my choice would be:
Best newcomer: This is a huge list with some great choices, my highlights would be Johnny Flynn who was great in The Heretic and is also doing a pretty good job in Jerusalem at the moment although that probably doesn't qualify for these awards. Then there is Tom Byam Shaw who I've only seen in The Tempest but he was by far my favourite thing about that play and David Mercatali who directed the wonderful Tender Napalm.
However, I can only choose one and that is Kyle Soller. He first came to my notice taking a small part in Glass Menagerie and got to properly stretch his acting (and comedy) muscles in The Government Inspector. In Faith Machine his was a very accomplished performance in what is a flawed play.
See the Evening Standard for the full long lists, the link is at the top of the post.