facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

Critics’ Circle Awards: winners’ reactions

Published 30 January 2015

“London theatre is the fulcrum of British theatre.” So spoke Jonathan Kent at the Critics’ Circle Awards earlier this week.

The director of the only show not yet staged in London to win at the national event, Gypsy, admitted prior to collecting its Best Musical award that he was particularly looking forward to bringing the production, which stars Imelda Staunton and Lara Pulver as original pushy parent Momma Rose and shy daughter Louise, to the West End.

“I hope it will transfer brilliantly,” he told Official London Theatre. “Chichester is a wonderful place, but it has a thrust stage. Gypsy is specifically written for a proscenium arch, so it will be interesting for it to return to its natural home. I think the musical, which hasn’t been seen in London since its first production 40 years ago, has a resonance with audiences now because it deals in the lure and pursuit of success, of the American dream and the damage that causes. It’s something that speaks to people now.”

Chichester’s production of Gypsy was one of a number of shows preparing to transfer to the West End that collected Critics’ Circle Awards. The Royal Court’s online thriller The Nether, which opens at the Duke of York’s next month, shared the award for Best Design, while the Young Vic’s A View From The Bridge, opening at the Wyndham’s in February, won for Best Director (Ivo Van Hove) and Best Actor (Mark Strong).

Screen star Strong, who broke a theatrical hiatus of more than a decade to return to the stage in Arthur Miller’s classic, explained the draw of the production: “I was reading a lot of film scripts and in among those was this play. In terms of characterisation and the multi-layered nature of my character it was head and shoulders above everything else I was reading. It reminded me that actually you can flesh things out on stage that you can’t on film, and it made me want to go back.”

Sir Antony Sher, collecting the award for Best Shakespearean Performance, was similarly effusive about great theatrical roles, explaining his trepidation at taking on the role of Falstaff in the Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Henry IV Parts I & II: “When you play great parts you have to have a certain conviction in yourself that you can do it, because you can’t mess around with those; they’re too important, too big. The way I convinced myself was that it was a great challenge for a character actor, that I was going to have to transform myself physically and vocally and my whole energy would have to become Falstaff. It was a fabulous challenge and a fantastic journey.”

Among the other 2015 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award winners were Helen McCrory, who won Best Actress for her performance in Medea, and Patsy Ferran, named Most Promising Newcomer for her roles in Blithe Spirit and Treasure Island.

While winning awards will generally put anyone in a good mood, Strong, in particular, was full of the joys of the stage after such a successful return, hinting that he may not leave it anywhere near 12 years before taking to the stage again:

“I hope to do more theatre,” he confided. “It depends on the play and the parts, but there are so many good plays and parts out there. There’s nothing quite like going into a room, turning the light off and watching a bunch of people pretending to be other people. You’re genuinely transported. It’s incredible.”


Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.