U.K.'s Critics' Circle Theatre Awards Winners Include Adrian Lester, Simon Russell Beale and Merrily We Roll Along

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15 Jan 2013

Adrian Lester in <i>Red Velvet</i>.
Adrian Lester in Red Velvet.
Tristram Kenton

The U.K.'s Critics' Circle Theatre Awards, presented Jan. 15 at London's Prince of Wales Theatre, saw husband and wife Adrian Lester and Lolita Chakrabarti both win awards for the same play, Red Velvet, as well as major wins for Simon Russell Beale and the Menier Chocolate Factory's current London production of Merrily We Roll Along.

In a ceremony hosted by Mark Shenton, chairman of the drama section of the Critics' Circle and Playbill.com's London correspondent, the Young Vic also took three awards – for Hattie Morahan, named Best Actress for starring in A Doll's House there; Benedict Andrews, named Best Director for his production of Three Sisters; and Miriam Buether, named Best Designer for her work on the Young Vic's production of Wild Swans, co-produced with American Repertory Theatre and Actors Touring Company.

Lester was named Best Actor for starring in Red Velvet at the Tricycle Theatre, written by his wife Chakrabarti, who was named Most Promising Playwright. Simon Russell Beale won the John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance for his work in the title role of Timon of Athens at the National Theatre. He is currently appearing in the West End in Privates on Parade at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Merrily We Roll Along, directed by Maria Friedman at the Menier Chocolate Factory, won the Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical (new or revival), and Lucy Prebble's The Effect, directed by Rupert Goold at the National's Cottesloe in a co-production with Headlong, was named Best New Play.

The Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer (other than a playwright) was won by Denise Gough for her performance in Desire Under the Elms at the Lyric Hammersmith. Shakespeare's Globe was presented with a special award for its Globe to Globe festival of all 37 of Shakespeare's plays, each presented in a different language. The award was collected by the theatre's artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, and Tom Bird, executive producer and Festival Director for the Globe to Globe season.

For the ninth year in a row, the Awards were presented in association with Nyman Libson Paul Chartered Accountants, leading entertainment industry specialists, and supported by Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.

The ceremony was an informal gathering of award recipients, the drama critics, theatre practitioners and the media, coming together to celebrate the critics' personal choice of the best theatre from throughout the U.K. Since the Awards' inception in 1989 the theatre critics, consisting entirely of respected and influential working journalists, have prided themselves on offering something unique on the packed theatre awards circuit:  Each member of the Drama Section independently casts his or her vote based on personal choice, free of any discussion or industry influence, ensuring a highly democratic voting process.