BEST PLAY: SHAKESPEARE AND CLASSICAL
A difficult choice. The dual contenders for top spot were the Midsummer Night’s Dream productions. The RSC production JUST wins on the whole “Play for the Nation” concept, plus the performances of Puck and Oberon. The Rover deserved far more attention. We didn’t see Glenda Jackson’s King Lear – we couldn’t get tickets. I also veered away from the Anthony Sher, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Simon Russell-Beale performances, in that you expected them to be consummate.
3.The Rover, by Aphra Benn, RSC
6. Richard III – Almeida Theatre 2016, Ralph Fiennes as Richard
The revival of Love’s Labour’s Won / Much Ado About Nothing disqualified as having come first in 2014. It was even better this time, but they would have been 3rd and 4th if available.
Branagh’s The Winter’s Tale is in some lists this year, but I placed it last year.
No, no RSC Hamlet not RSC The Tempest though both are reviewed here.The RSC get four entries anyway.
BEST PLAY (MODERN)
Two by Rattigan? I never thought I’d see it, but Christopher Luscombe’s pin-sharp direction of While The Sun Shines at Bath Theatre Royal deserves a placing.
1.The Truth, by Florian Zeller, adapted by Christopher Hampton, Menier Chocolate Factory
2. Nice Fish by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins, Harold Pinter Theatre
3. The Entertainer by John Osborne, Branagh Season
5. Ross by Terence Rattigan, Chichester
1 Joseph Millson in The Rover, RSC
3 Alexander Hanson as Michel in, The Truth
5 Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer & The Painkiller
8 Tom Hollander as Henry Carr, Travesties, by Tom Stoppard,
9 Hugh Bonneville in An Enemy of The People by Henrik Ibsen, adapted Christopher Hampton, Chichester Festival Theatre
10 Paapa Essediu in Hamlet, RSC 2016
My shortlist ran to twenty-five.
OTHERS IN SHORTLIST:David Callister as Inspector Pratt in Secondary Cause of Death, by Peter Gordon, Talking Scarlet
Jamie Wilkes / James Corrigan in Two Noble Kinsmen, RS
Bryan Dick as Willie Mossop in Hobson’s Choice (Bath & Tour)
Nick Haverson in Much Ado About Nothing as Dogberry
Joseph Fiennes in Ross
Ralph Fiennes in Richard III
Antony Sher in King Lear
Simon Russell-Beale in The Tempest
James Garnon in Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, Richard III
Tom Gill in First Light
While I considered Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado a revival, Lisa Dillon was not in the original, so eligible this year!
1. Lucy Ellison as Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream RSC 2016
2 Lily James as Juliet, Romeo and Juliet – Branagh Company,
3 Meow Meow as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Globe 2016
5 Faye Castelow in The Rover by Aphra Behn (RSC
6 Lisa Dillon as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost
7 Maddy Hill in Imogen (Cymbeline Renamed and Reclaimed) – Globe 2016
8 Zizi Stallen, Mary Poppins, Norwich Theatre Royal, 2016
9 Kirsty Bushell in Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, version by Brien Friel, Salisbury Playhouse
10 Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl, Menier Chocolate Factory, 2016
Charlie Kemp in Half A Sixpence, Chichester
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1 Derek Jacobi in Romeo & Juliet
2 Oliver Ryan as Mephistophilis in Dr Faustus
3 Robert Portal as Paul in The Truth
4 David Troughton as Gloucester, King Lear RSC
5 Mark Quarterly as Ariel in The Tempest, RSC
6 Oliver Johnstone in Cymbeline, RSC
7 Gawn Grainger as Billy Rice in The Entertainer
8 Joshua Lacey in Imogen (Cymbeline)
9 Leander Deeny in The Rover
10 Ewan Wardrop as Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Globe
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1 = Allison McKenzie in Two Noble Kinsmen, + The Rover, RSC
1 = Frances McNamme in Two Noble Kinsmen, + The Rover, RSC
3 Meera Syal as The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet – Branagh Company,
4 Clare Foster as Cecily in Travesties
5 Tanya Franks as Laurence in The Truth
6 Aislin McGuckin in Richard III, Almeida
7 Greta Saatchi in The Entertainer
8 Claire Louise Cordwell in Imogen, Globe
9 Claudie Blakeley in The Painkiller
10 Jade Croot as Helen of Troy in Dr Faustus
BEST SET DESIGN
2 The Tempest, RSC 2016 (Simon Russell-Beale)
3 The Entertainer, by John Osborne, Branagh Theatre Company
4 Nice Fish, by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins
5 The Two Noble Kinsmen, RSC, Swan Theatre,
6 First Light by Mark Hayhurst, Chichester Minerva
7 Ross by Terence Rattigan, Chichester Festival Theatre 2016
9 Dedication – Shakespeare and Southampton by Nick Dear, Nuffield Southampton
BEST SOUND THEATRE
Ross – Chichester
Broken – Motionhouse
The Tempest RSC
Doctor Faustus, RSC
Richard III – Almeida
THEATRE OF THE YEAR?
The Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford (RST + Swan) narrowly wins. Not a bad production this year. Also BEST PROGRAMMES
The Kenneth Branagh Company gave us a fantastic year, but fewer productions of course, plus an awful uncomfortable West End building.
Chichester (my winner in 2014 and 2015) was just shaded on productions (only by a whisker) this year, though on all the physical aspects of theatre going (seats, access, comfort, loos, parking, eating) it is as ever first.
THE GLOBE wins best restaurant easily (The Swan), Also note that both the most controversial productions of the Emma Rice regime A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Imogen were highly rated here. However, a few weaker ones too.