The 16th annual WhatsOnStage Awards took place at the Prince of Wales theatre (normally home to the Book of Mormon) and Love London Love Culture was in the audience. But who took away what award?
Best Actor in a Play: Benedict Cumberbatch – Hamlet: In one of the longest acceptance speeches ever delivered, the Sherlock star thanked everyone (including Shakespeare) for the award. This stunning production staged at the Barbican, featured a wonderful performance from Cumberbatch in the title role. Read what Love London Love Culture thought here.
Best Actress in a Play: Nicole Kidman – Photograph 51: Anna Ziegler’s play went down well with audiences at the Noel Coward Theatre last year, led by Nicole Kidman, who returned to the London stage for the first time in 15 years to play the role of British scientist Rosalind Franklin.
Best Actor in a Musical: Matt Henry – Kinky Boots: having seen this just before Christmas, it is safe to say that this award was well deserved for this performance. Funny and in turns poignant and moving, Matt Henry delivers an outstanding performance in this hilarious musical. Read Love London Love Culture’s thoughts here.
Best Actress in a Musical: Imelda Staunton- Gypsy: no surprises here but Staunton delivered such a high quality performance from beginning to end that it was a delight and privilege to watch her give her all in this show. Love London Love Culture’s review can be found here.
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Lara Pulver – Gypsy: to watch Lara Pulver develop her character from beginning to end is to watch an actress develop in confidence and make the most of her character. Again a worthy winner.
Best New Musical: Kinky Boots – Adelphi Theatre: full of joy and heart throughout, this show looks set to run and run in the West End, filled with fabulous performances and catchy songs – this musical certainly leaves you with a spring in your step.
Best West End Show: Les Miserables – Queen’s Theatre: now running for its 30th year, it was lovely to hear Cameron Mackintosh talk about how far the show has come and the support it has gained from audiences. Still a sell-out hit, it is still proving as powerful today as when it first arrived in the West End.
Other awards given out during the evening included:
Best Supporting Actor in a Play: Mark Gatiss – Three Days in the Country.
Best Supporting Actress in a Play: Judi Dench – The Winter’s Tale
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: David Bedella – In the Heights
Best New Play: Photograph 51, Noel Coward Theatre
Best Play Revival: Hamlet, the Barbican
Best Musical Revival: Gypsy
Best Direction: Jonathan Kent, Gypsy
Best Choreography: Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Best Set Design: Es Devlin, Hamlet
Best Lighting Design: Jane Cox, Hamlet
Best Off-West End Production: Carrie the musical, Southwark Playhouse
Best Regional Production: Mary Poppins
The Equity Award for Services to Theatre: Sir Kenneth Branagh
During the evening there were also performances from Jenna Russell, who has just completed a run in Grey Gardens at the Southwark Playhouse, Pixie Lott performing ‘Moon River’ from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (which opens at the Curve theatre in Leicester next week) and a rousing finale from the cast of Les Miserables.
Matt Henry gave a moving performance of ‘Hold Me in Your Heart’, while the audience was given an opportunity to hear Emma Williams and Tracie Bennett perform ‘If Mountains Were Easy to Climb’ and ‘Whatever Time I Have’ from the recently opened Mrs Henderson Presents.
The evening was hosted brilliantly by Steve Furst to liven proceedings with plenty of theatre related humour, adding a relaxed vibe to proceedings for a thoroughly lively and entertaining evening.