Macbeth leads Evening Standard nominations

Published April 17, 2008

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Macbeth, currently at the Gielgud, leads the nominations in this year’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards with three nominations, while the National’s War Horse collects two.

Macbeth receives nominations for Best Actor (Patrick Stewart, in the title role), Best Director (Rupert Goold) and Best Design (Anthony Ward). This new production of Shakespeare’s Scottish play, which began life in Chichester, transferred to the West End in September and has now announced a New York run for next year.

Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris receive a nomination alongside Goold for their directing duties on War Horse, Nick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel at the National. The show features life-sized horse puppets created by the Handspring Puppet Company, which receives War Horse’s second nomination in the category of Best Design.

The trio of Best Director nominations is completed by Tim Supple, for his multi-lingual production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which played at the Roundhouse in April.

Joining Stewart in the Best Actor category are: Charles Dance, for his role as C S Lewis in Shadowlands, currently playing at the Wyndham’s; Robert Lindsay for his portrayal of Archie Rice in The Entertainer at the Old Vic; and Mark Rylance for creating the role of Robert in the comedy Boeing Boeing.

The quartet of Best Actress nominations comprises: Anne-Marie Duff for Saint Joan at the National; Billie Piper for her stage debut in Christopher Hampton’s Treats at the Garrick; the singularly-monikered American actress Portia for The Member Of The Wedding at the Young Vic and Penelope Wilton for John Gabriel Borkman at the Donmar Warehouse.

The National Theatre dominates the Best Play category, with two nominations – for Ayub Khan-Din’s Rafta, Rafta and Nicholas Wright’s The Reporter. The category is completed by A Disappearing Number, by Simon McBurney and Complicite, which ran at the Barbican this autumn.

The Best Musical category, renamed the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical in honour of the director who died last month, contains two British premieres and one revival. Hairspray and Parade, which both premiered in New York, came to the UK this year with productions at the Shaftesbury and the Donmar Warehouse respectively, while Lindsay Posner’s revival of Fiddler On The Roof has occupied the Savoy since May.

Felix Barrett and Punchdrunk (The Masque Of The Red Death at the BAC) and Robin Don (The Emperor Jones at the National), join Handspring and Ward in the Best Design category.

The Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright, which comes with a £25,000 prize, is contested by Hassan Abdulrazzak (Baghdad Wedding at the Soho), Lucy Caldwell (Leaves at the Royal Court) and Polly Stenham (That Face, also at the Royal Court).

Matt Smith, who appeared in That Face (and can currently be seen in Swimming With Sharks at the Vaudeville) is nominated for the Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer along with Amanda Hale for The Glass Menagerie at the Apollo and Stephen Wight for his roles in Dealer’s Choice at the Menier Chocolate Factory (soon to transfer to Trafalgar Studios) and Don Juan In Soho at the Donmar Warehouse.

The winners of this year’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards are announced in a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel on 27 November.

CB