The awards were presented Jan. 26 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in a ceremony hosted by Mark Shenton, Playbill.com's London correspondent, who is also chairman of the drama section of the Critics' Circle.
The major acting awards went to Kenneth Cranham for his performance in Florian Zeller's The Father, which he will reprise for a return West End season at the Duke of York's Theatre from Feb. 24 as previously announced here and Densie Gough for her performance in Duncan Macmillan's People, Places and Things at the National Theatre, which she will reprise at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre from March 23, as previously announced here. Judi Dench took the Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance for her recent performance as Paulina in Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford's production of The Winter’s Tale at the Garrick Theatre.
James Fritz and David Moorst respectively won awards for Most Promising Playwright and Mot Promising Newcomer (other than a playwright) for Four minutes twelve seconds (seen at Hampstead Downstairs and the Trafalgar Studios) and Violence and Son (seen at the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Upstairs).
Robert Icke was named Best Director for his production of Oresteia which originated at the Almeida before transferring to the West End's Trafalgar Studios, and Anna Fleischsle won the award for Best Designer for her work on Hangmen.
Finally, the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical (new or revival) went to Bend it Like Beckham, the new British musical based on the 2002 film of the same name, that, as previously announced (http://www.playbill.com/news/article/west-ends-bend-it-like-beckham-to-shutter-in-march-379304), is to shutter March 5. In a speech opening the awards, Shenton called them "an annual celebration of the ongoing richness and diversity of British theatre that even the current government was forced to acknowledge in its recent arts settlement."
He went on to say, "Noting that deep budget cuts would be a false economy, the Chancellor George Osborne called the arts 'one of the best investments we can make as a nation.' He said £1bn a year in grants leads to 'a quarter of a trillion pounds to the economy – not a bad return.' And the importance of subsidy is, as ever, obvious when you look at the recipients of these awards — across nine categories today, six award winners originated in subsidised theatres."