14 posts categorized "Awards" Feed

Evening Standard Theatre Awards - my two favourite winners

My favourite winners from last night's Evening Standard Theatre awards reflect the best of the old and new theatre.

Seven methods for killing kylie jenner helen murray
seven methods for killing kylie jenner, Royal Court. Photo Helen Murray.

First is Andrew Scott's winning performance in Present Laughter.

Not only was it such an outstanding and memorable performance deserving of a gong but the gender-swap casting decisions brought an extra special layer.

Noel Coward would have loved it and I can't wait to see the encore screening this week at the cinema.

The other win I'm particularly pleased about is Jasmine Lee-Jones, most promising playwright for seven methods of killing Kylie Jenner (Royal Court)

It is a startling piece of fresh, clever, biting contemporary theatre that speaks for now.

Full results (with links to my thoughts)


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Olivier Awards: The two winners I'm particularly chuffed about

Flicked on social media this morning to cast my eye over the winners of the Oliver Awards and particular chuffed to see two names on the list.

First up was Flesh and Bone which won Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre (basically best fringe production). 

I gave it five stars when I saw it for its clever mix of Shakespearean lyricism and East End vernacular.

Flesh and Bone

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2018 theatre review: Favourite moments from the surreal to the emotional and some awards

110+ plays and my first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe (15 plays in 6 days), 2018 was quite a year...

Magic and memorable moments:

Patsy Ferran in My Mum's A Twat, Royal Court. Photo: Helen Murray.

Feeling part of the set:  Sitting on a bean bag on the carpet in Patsy Ferran's 'bedroom' for My Mum's a Twat at the Royal Court (and she said hello to me).

Audience reaction #1: The audience gasping at the 'snap' during a scene in the RSC's Julius Caesar where a little boy's neck 'was broken’. Obviously, no child was harmed etc.

Audience reaction #2: Finding myself stood up singing Amazing Grace with the entire audience at the Royal Court during 'Notes From The Field'.

Actor interaction: Kia Charles winking at me and grinning during Quiz, Noel Coward Theatre (benefits of on-stage seating).

Surreal moment #1: Alex Hassell introducing himself to me and Poly was a bit surreal (stopped myself from blurting out 'I know, I saw you play Prince Hal/Henry V etc.)

But what made it more surreal is that we were in a church hall in Pimlico and after the meet and greet we sat in a circle to watch and sometimes be part of a production of Macbeth.

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3 London theatre stories that caught my attention this week - and an actor encounter

SWEAT Donmar Warehouse Picture Spencer Platt  Getty Images1. Exciting casting announcement at the Donmar 

One of my favourite films growing up in the 80s was The Goonies so imagine my excitement when learning that Martha 'Stef' Plimpton is going to be starring in the Donmar Warehouse's production of Sweat (previews from Dec 7).

The Pulitzer Prize-winning play was written after playwright Lynn Nottage starting spending time in Reading, Pennsylvania - one the poorest cities in America.

2. Trevor Nunn returns to the Jermyn Street Theatre

The Jermyn Street Theatre announced its Spring/Summer 2019 season which sees the return of Trevor Nunn who is directing Agnes Colander, Harley Granville Barker’s play exploring love, sexual attraction and independence.

The play was written in 1900 but was only discovered at the British Library 100 years later and is described as a 'hidden gem'.

It's a revival of a production that ran at the Ustinov Studio at Theatre Royal, Bath earlier this year. Jermyn Street Theatre 12 Feb - 16 Mar.



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My theatre 'StOlivier' awards 2017

Step aside best actor/actress/play etc this is what was noteworthy for me in theatre land, in 2017.

Menagerie award The Ferryman was an award winning play in many way but for me it deserve an extra gong for fur and feathers - a cute little rabbit and a goose both made scene stealing appearances. Babies? Schmabies. Real, live animals on stage are the thing.

Exhibit A: Roman Tragedies, Barbican Theatre
Exhibit A: Roman Tragedies, Barbican Theatre

Event theatre and star studded audience award Ivo Van Hove's  six hour Roman Tragedies at the Barbican was an event for many reasons not least for allowing audience members to wander onto the stage between scenes and perch wherever they could get a seat. Photos, without flash, and tweeting (see exhibit A) were also encouraged. It also attracted probably the most thespy audience I've seen so far: Simon Stephens, Rupert Goold and Kate Fleetwood, Kyle Soler and Pheobe Fox, John Heffernan, Angus Wright, Jamie Lloyd, Ruth Wilson, Ian McDiarmid, Jonjo O’Neill, Jeremy Herrin and Leo Bill.

Best kiss When Paddy Considine and Laura Donnelly's characters kissed in The Ferryman, Royal Court it was so charged with years of repressed feelings it took my breath away and broke my heart a little bit.

Best spit - Not since I (probably) gave an award to the cast of Richard III for all spitting on Ralph Fiennes has their been a gobbing incident worthy of note but step forward Jasmine Hyde who spat so spectacularly on Harry Melling during Jam, Finborough Theatre.

Hottie of the month kinda lives on...these were my particular favourites in 2017: Theo James, Andrew Garfield, Douglas Booth and James Norton but if I had to choose one it would be Theo because I'm such a huge fan and it was the first time I've seen him on stage.

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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.

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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

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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