A welter of theatre talent was rewarded at last night’s glitzy Whatsonstage.com Awards, the UK’s biggest public-voted theatre awards. The biggest winner was Chichester Festival Theatre’s West End transfer of ‘Sweeney Todd’: after a 2012 in which London producers basically wimped out of putting anything even remotely new on, Jonathan Kent’s classy Sondheim revival deservedly hacked through its feeble competition, winning five awards, including best actor and actress in a musical for Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton.
Elsewhere – and particularly in the individual awards – one suspects likelihood of winning was always directly proportional to a nominee’s fame: Tim Minchin and Mel C took home best supporting actor/actress in a musical for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iffy revival of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’; Stephen Fry’s victory as best supporting actor (for ‘Twelfth Night’) seemed so assured that there was barely any point in having a shortlist; and the hugely famous Will Young’s triumph in the best newcomer category (for ‘Cabaret’) didn’t seem especially fair to his lesser known competitors.
Nonetheless, the ceremony – which took place at the Palace Theatre, and is both voted for and heavily attended by members of the public – was its usual fun self, with hosts Rufus Hound and Mel Giedroyc keeping the whole three hour shebang entertainingly anarchic. And there were some very deserved wins: Danny Boyle’s Olympics opening ceremony won theatrical event of the year, with the man himself on hand to collect his gong (above). And the Time Out-sponsored best comedy award was won by Graham Linehan’s adaptation of the ‘The Ladykillers’, which narrowly pipped Zach Braff’s awful ‘All New People’ in the popular vote – that would have been all sorts of awkward.
For the complete list of winners, head to whatsonstage.com.