The Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Posted on: 01 December 2010 by Rhian Mainwaring

As 2010 draws to a wintry close it is worth reflecting on the past year in the theatre, a year which showed a marked increase in theatregoing, not only by visitors to the capital but also the British public as a whole.

Rory KinnearIt is also the time when the annual and most prestigious prizes are given to the best productions and individuals in the London Evening Standard Drama Awards. This year's winners illustrate the astonishing range of talent drawn to the stage, commented Sarah Sands, deputy editor of the paper, at the awards ceremony on Sunday evening. London theatre is, by far, the best in the world.

Youth and experience were lauded in equal measure. A writer who wrote her astonishing debut aged 17, Anya Reiss was the recipient of the Charles Wintour Most Promising Playwright for her mature and masterly Spur of the Moment, while Special Awards were presented to 21 year old rising star Daniel Kaluuya for his compelling performance in Roy Williams's boxing drama Sucker Punch, where the biggest fight for one black boxer was not in the ring but against racism. Theatre veterans Sir Michael Gambon and Sir Peter Hall were honoured for their many achievement in this field.

The national provided the platform for the year's best performances. Nancy Carroll's heartrending portrayal of the luminous but ultimately fragile Joan  in Terence Rattigan's unjustly neglected After The Dance was rewarded with the Natasha Richardson award for best Actress, while Rory Kinnear took home the Best Actor prize for two very different, but equally compelling roles, as Shakespeare's tragic hero Hamlet, bent on revenge for his father's murder, and the complex villain Angelo in the bard's Measure for Measure.

The Best Director award was given to Howard Davies for his new version of Mikhail Bulgakov's Russian comedy The White Guard at the National, and Arthur Miller's superb, timeless drama All My Sons which incidentally, was my choice of play of the Year.

The only award with which I disagreed was the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical to Passion, staged to mark Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday which I felt should have gone to the marvellous 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables.

Finally my top ten productions of the year are: All my Sons, Hamlet, Les Miserables, Clybourne Park, After the Dance, Sucker Punch, Tribes (also at the Royal Court), Spur of the Moment, Through a Glass Darkly (Almeida) and Yes Prime Minister.

By Laurence Green

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