From Danny Boyle’s Olympics Opening Ceremony to the World Shakespeare Festival’s 37-language Globe to Globe season, it’s been a year of epics for London theatre. And the shortlist for the Time Out-sponsored Whatsonstage.com Awards 2013, which was announced this afternoon, is a chance to celebrate the best of ’em.
The shortlist for the only major public-voted theatre awards – which run to a whacking 27 categories and include the Time Out award for Best New Comedy – was unveiled by guest presenters Alistair McGowan, Tamzin Outhwaite, Mark Gatiss, Belinda Lang and Stephen Tompkinson at an event at Café Paris.
It’s no surprise to see that Mark Rylance’s rapturously received return to Shakespeare’s Globe in ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Richard III’ has landed him two nominations – for Best Actor in a Play and Theatre Event of the Year. In the former category he’s up against Luke Treadaway for an astonishing performance in the tough role of teenage maths genius Christopher in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ at the National, Cottesloe, which also features in the Best Director and Best New Play categories; and Rupert Everett for Oscar Wilde drama ‘The Judas Kiss’ at Hampstead Theatre (which transfers to the West End next year).
The Best Actress category sees Sheridan Smith and Billie Piper shed the light entertainment tag once and for all in ‘Hedda Gabler’ at the Old Vic and ‘The Effect’ at the National, Cottlesloe. Also nominated are Julie Walters for her role as a gloriously unreconstructed hippy in ‘The Last of the Haussmans’, and Sally Hawkins for her part opposite Rafe Spall in Nick Payne’s tender brain-teaser ‘Constellations’.
Imelda Staunton, Michael Ball, Emi Wokoma and Melanie C are all up for musical awards, while two big TV names – Stephen Fry and Mark Gatiss – have been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category. And hats off to Lindsay Posner, who has three shots at Best Director with ‘Abigail’s Party’ at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Wyndham’s, ‘Noises Off’ at the Old Vic and Novello, and ‘Uncle Vanya’ at the Vaudeville.
The results will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Palace Theatre on Feb 17 2013. To vote, head to awards.whatsonstage.com.