By Ray Bennett
Fringe and repertoire theatres triumphed at the London Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards today as prizes went to productions at the Almeida, Chichester Festival, the Young Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court and the Bush Theatre.
Mark Strong (pictured above) was named best actor and Ivo van Hope won as best director for “A View From the Bridge’ at the Young Vic. It opens at Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End on Feb. 16 with previews from Feb. 10.
Helen McCroy was named best actress for “Medea” at the National Theatre. The Euripides play in a new version by Ben Power directed by Carrie Cracknell is available via National Theatre Live. Alison Goldfrapp did the music.
“King Charles III” by Mike Bartlett won the award as best new play. It opened at the Almeida theatre and then had a run at Wyndham’s that will end on Jan. 31. Music for the show was by Jocelyn Pook (“Eyes Wide Shut”, “Gangs of New York”).
The Peter Hepple Award for best musical, new or revival, went to the Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of the 1959 Broadway show “Gypsy”. Imelda Staunton stars as Mama Rose with Lara Pulver as Louise and Peter Davison as Herbie for director Jonathan Kent as the production moves to the Savoy Theatre in previews from March 28 and will run from April 15 to July 18.
Other winners were:
Best designer: Tie: Paul Barritt for “Golem”, 1927 at the Young Vic Theatre and Es Devlin for “The Nether” from the Headlong Theatre at the Royal Court followed by a transfer on Feb. 23 to the Duke of York’s Theatre with previews from Jan. 30.
Most promising playwright: Barney Norris for “Visitors” for its Up in Arms regional your and Arcola Theatre, London, production followed by a transfer to the Bush Theatre.
The Jack Tinker Award for most promising newcomer (other than a playwright): Patsy Ferran for her performances in “Blithe Spirit” with Angela Lansbury at the Gielgud Theatre and “Treasure Island” at the Olivier Theatre at the National.
Comedian Arthur Smith (below) was on hand for the event in the Bernard Delfont room at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, as he has been for years, with comments and gags to ensure proceedings did not become too reverential.