Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy Hangmen has been awarded Best New Play at this year’s Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, leading the way for three wins for the Royal Court Theatre.
The annual awards, which see the UK’s leading theatre critics turn prize-givers for the day, were presented today at a ceremony hosted by theatre journalist Mark Shenton at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
In a demonstration of how adept the critics are at spotting a future talent, both McDonagh, who was presented the award for his hugely successful drama about an ex hangman starring David Morrissey, and this year’s Best Actress winner Denise Gough were awarded Most Promising Awards for their crafts in prior years.
Just three years following her Most Promising Newcomer prize for Desire Under The Elms, Gough today earned one of the ceremony’s most prestigious awards for her staggering performance in the National Theatre’s People, Places And Things. Audiences will have the chance to see the actor reprise her role when the show transfers to the Wyndham’s Theatre this spring.
No doubt hoping to follow in McDonagh and Gough’s footsteps, this year’s duo of Most Promising Newcomer Awards were awarded to playwright James Fritz for the Hampstead Theatre’s Four Minutes Twelve Seconds and actor David Moorst for his acclaimed turn in Violence And Son at the Royal Court. The third Royal Court win came in the Best Designer category with Anna Fleischle honoured for her work on Hangmen.
In other categories, much loved actor Judi Dench was awarded Best Shakespearean Performance for her role in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s The Winter’s Tale, Kenneth Cranham won Best Actor for his emotive performance in Florian Zeller’s The Father and rising star theatremaker Robert Icke won Best Director for the Almeida Theatre’s imaginative retelling of Oresteia.
In the awards sole musical category, Gurinder Chadha’s stage adaptation of Bend It Like Beckham The Musical was awarded Best Musical. Audiences have until 5 March to catch the five star hit before it ends its run at the Phoenix Theatre with plans to continue its success on an international tour.
The Critics’ Circle Awards lead the way for the pinnacle of the theatre awards season, the Olivier Awards with MasterCard. The most prestigious ceremony of the season will take place at the Royal Opera House on 3 April and the countdown is now on for the nominations announcement on 29 February, when this year’s crop of noted performers, directors, designers and companies in the running to win an award will be revealed.
Full list of winners:
Best New Play
Hangmen by Martin McDonagh at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs & Wyndham’s Theatre
The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical [new or revival]
Bend It Like Beckham The Musical at the Phoenix Theatre
Kenneth Cranham in The Father at Bath Theatre Royal Ustinov Studio, Tricycle Theatre & Wyndham’s Theatre
Denise Gough in People, Places And Things at the National Dorfman Theatre
The Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance
Judi Dench in The Winter’s Tale at the Garrick Theatre
Robert Icke for Oresteia at the Almeida Theatre & Trafalgar Studios
Anna Fleischle for Hangmen at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs & Wyndham’s Theatre
Most Promising Playwright
James Fritz for Four Minutes Twelve Seconds at the Hampstead Theatre Downstairs & Trafalgar Studios
The Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer [other than a playwright]
David Moorst in Violence And Son at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs