August, La Cage, Tennant and More Win London Critics' Circle Theatre Awards

News   August, La Cage, Tennant and More Win London Critics' Circle Theatre Awards
 
Tracy Letts' August: Osage County, which just completed a sell-out run at the Royal National Theatre's Lyttelton with most of its original Steppenwolf company, was named Best New Play at the 2008 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards, which were presented in an afternoon ceremony held at the Prince of Wales Theatre Jan. 27.
August: Osage County stars Sally Murphy and Rondi Reed
August: Osage County stars Sally Murphy and Rondi Reed Photo by Mark Douet

La Cage aux Folles, originally seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory and now running at the West End's Playhouse Theatre, took the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical (new or revival).

The Donmar Warehouse was the biggest winner of the day, nabbing four awards in all: for Kenneth Branagh (named Best Actor for his performance as Ivanov), Margaret Tyzack (named Best Actress for her performance in The Chalk Garden), Derek Jacobi (jointly winning the John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance — for his Malvolio in Twelfth Night — with David Tennant's RSC Hamlet), and Michael Grandage (named Best Director for his productions of The Chalk Garden at the Donmar and Ivanov at Wyndham's).

The ceremony was hosted by Playbill.com London correspondent Mark Shenton, who is also Chairman of the Critics' Circle Drama section and theatre critic for the U.K national paper The Sunday Express. The awards were collected in person by the winners, except for Branagh and Tennant, who both sent messages instead.

The awards ceremony, which was by invitation only, is an informal gathering of award recipients, drama critics, theatre practitioners and the media, convivially coming together to celebrate the critics' personal choice of the best in theatre, from throughout the UK, during the last calendar year. In contrast with other theatre awards during the London trophy season — which has already seen the presentation of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in November and will be followed by the Laurence Olivier Awards in March — the Critics' Circle Theatre Award winners are decided by the independent votes of Drama Section members, with no panel discussions or public/industry influence exerted.

The Critics' Circle, established in 1913, is a professional association of critics of drama, music, cinema, dance and art/architecture. The Circle's goals are to promote the art of criticism and to uphold its integrity in practice, to foster and safeguard the interests of its members and to support the advancement of the arts. The full list of winners follows:

Best New Play
August: Osage County by Tracy Letts
National Theatre presentation of the Steppenwolf Company, Lyttelton Theatre, London

The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical (new or revival)
La Cage aux Folles
Menier Chocolate Factory, London, followed by transfer to Playhouse Theatre, London

Best Actor
Kenneth Branagh in Ivanov
Donmar Warehouse at Wyndham's Theatre, London

Best Actress
Margaret Tyzack in The Chalk Garden
Donmar Warehouse, London

The John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance
Awarded jointly to:
Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night
Donmar Warehouse at Wyndham's Theatre, London
and David Tennant in Hamlet
Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, followed by transfer to Novello Theatre, London

Best Director
Michael Grandage for Ivanov and The Chalk Garden
Donmar Warehouse at Wyndham's Theatre, London and Donmar Warehouse, London

Best Designer
Neil Murray for Brief Encounter
Kneehigh Theatre at the Cinema Haymarket, London

Most Promising Playwright
Alexi Kaye Campbell for The Pride
Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London

The Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer (other than a playwright)
Ella Smith in Fat Pig
Trafalgar Studios, London, followed by transfer to the Comedy Theatre, London

Sally Murphy, Molly Ranson, Rondi Reed, Amy Morton, Deanna Dunagan and Jeff Perry in the London production of <i>August: Osage County</i>, nominated for Best New Play
Sally Murphy, Molly Ranson, Rondi Reed, Amy Morton, Deanna Dunagan and Jeff Perry in the London production of August: Osage County, nominated for Best New Play Photo by Mark Douet
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