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.
Lots of competition for this one, my squeal of delight when I found out Mr W was to take to the stage again has been ruled out because I'd look biased and no one was around to experience it but I was around for the winner, a late entry: PolyG's ticking off by Emma Freud in front of a packed Olivier Theatre.
Picture the scene: It's the institution that is the National Theatre Christmas Quiz, the cast of The Magistrate vs People. Magistrate are trailing due to lack of foresight in bringing gifts to bribe scorer Emma Kennedy. It's the wig round, all goes silent, Magistrate team captain Joshua McGuire has correctly identified the play but is being pressed by Freud to identify the actor who wore the wig. For a moment he struggles then a voice loud and clear from someone sat very close to me in the front row shouts out "Jay Simpson".
McGuire looks surprised and relieved 'What she said' he says, Freud is giving evils. Poly is asked to stand up while being reprimanded with a finger wagging 'don't do that again'.
The didn't expect to see you on stage again so soon now that you are a big star award:
Thanks to the wonder that is rehearsed readings for this one but in second place it's James McAvoy for Bajazet at the Donmar and, in first, Mr Benedict Cumberbatch for Looking Back in Anger at the Duke of Yorks.Least favourite theatre award:
The Globe. There is something wrong when after purchasing a ticket to see a play you start planning exactly how many layers you will need to wear and agonising over which blanket to take. There is also something wrong with paying 40 odd quid to sit on a hard bench with no seat back and then getting distracted by those right in front of the stage, the groundlings, shifting from foot to foot or making their way out through the crowd for a mid performance comfort break. And then there is the lighting and the sound and that people think it's acceptable to bring a baby along, yes a baby.
Announcing a West End transfer shortly after I'd stumped up for full price tickets added insult to injury.
There is a reason theatres aren't like that any more.
I know as a venue it's like marmite but I'm now confirmed hater and shy of Mr Whishaw treading the boards there I won't ever part with cash to go again. Thank goodness they've decided to build and indoor venue and it will be interesting to see who they get to appear outdoors once the indoor venue is operational as it can't be much fun for the actors performing on a stage open to delightful British weather.