My theatre wish list for 2017
London fringe theatre news round up - five for January

Rev Stan's StOlivier theatre awards for 2016

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.

Rory Kinnear in eyeliner for Threepenny Opera at the National Theatre. Photo Richard H Smith

Rory Kinnear eyeliner award This goes to Rory Kinnear in Threepenny Opera and is my way of saying it's great to see Rory Kinnear back in eyeliner. I've missed the eyeliner.

Best spitting award It wasn't just the usual thesp spittle in Richard III at the Almeida, this was the cast standing over the 'dead' body of Ralph Fiennes' Richard III and letting him have it. Great anecdote for any actor: "I spat on Ralph Fiennes."

Waste not want not award  This also goes to the Almeida where they dug a muddy hole in the stage for Richard III and then used it again (sort of) for They Drink It In the Congo and then in Oil they'd filled in the hole but performed on the mud for part of the play.

Wow stage set award Theatre land surpassed itself with staging surprises and startling effects this year. There was the stunningly effective growing and shrinking oblongs and squares that framed certain characters between scenes during the Red Barn at the National and the 'magic' scene changes during Yerma where the contents of the glass box performance space seemed to vanish and be replaced during a brief black out. But the award goes to Wild at Hampstead Theatre for it's 'didn't see that coming' strip and vertical rotation of the entire set.

And these were my favourite curtain call moments:

*Boy at the Almeida, gets a nod for its curtain call which was in keeping with the theme of the play about isolation and loneliness.  Frankie Fox who played the boy faced in the opposite direction to the rest of the cast. It was a nice touch.

*At the end of Nice Fish, Harold Pinter  Mark Rylance and Jim Lichtscheidl are hoisted up into the gods by fish hooks. What you expect is that they'd get unstrapped out of view and then climb back down for the curtain call but no, they were just lowered in a comically ungainly fashion back to the stage to join the rest of the cast. It was a fitting end to a funny and surreal play.

*Ben Whishaw gets a mention as he's still giving by far the most flexible and energetic bow at the curtain call (nose to knees).

*When I saw Jamie Lloyd's Dr Faustus during an early preview Jenna Russell looked genuinely concerned/caring for Kit Harington at the curtain call which was nice to see as was the warm hug that Lia Williams and Juliet Stevenson gave each other at the end of Mary Stuart.