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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Warchus’

The Whatsonstage.com Awards nominations are still live and you can cast your votes until 31st January.  RSC nominations include  Matilda The Musical which has been nominated for a total of 9 awards with all four of Matildas nominated as Best Actress in a Musical.  Bertie Carvel is in the running for Best Actor in a Musical, Lauren Ward is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, and Paul Kaye is up for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.  Rob Howell is nominated for Best Set Designer, Peter Darling for Best Choreographer, and Matthew Warchus for Best Director. Tim Minchin has been nominated as London Newcomer of the Year and the show is up for Best New Musical.

And the 50th anniversary season and the opening of the RST and Swan Theatre has also been recognised and is nominated for The AKA Theatre Event of the Year! 

These awards, also known as the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, are the only major UK theatre awards decided by members of the public, and you can cast your votes at www.whatsonstage.com   The winners will be announced on Sunday 19 February 2012. 

So cast your votes…

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Matilda has won its first award and I am sure not its last. The show was awarded the “Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical” at The Critics’ Circle Awards Ceremony yesterday.  The Award was collected by Matthew Warchus and Josie Griffiths and it is highly unusual for a non- London based musical to win.

Mat Wolf, critic for the International Herald Tribune, who presented the Award, said: ‘I have been to many press nights and have witnessed standing ovations.  But the standing ovation for this show was very different.  I watched the audience which consisted of kids giggling and chatting, adults wiping away a tear and sobbing. Why?  This is a rare show that speaks to people on two levels.  Children respond to the colour, the athletics and the burp joke and the adults respond to that – but also respond to the fact that it is wise, witty profound and extremely smart.  At the end of the musical, there is a pun on Matilda which is better even than Sondheim.  I can honestly say that this is the best British musical I’ve seen in my 27 years in this country.’

Well high praise indeed and let’s hope it is not too long before the show reappears to wow new audiences in London.

The full list of awards for 2011

Best New Play: Clybourne Park (Royal Court)

The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical (new or revival): Matilda, A Musical (Courtyard Theatre RSC)

Best Actor: David Suchet in All My Sons (Apollo Theatre)

Best Actress: Jenny Jules in Ruined (Almeida Theatre)

The John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance: Derek Jacobi in King Lear (Donmar Warehouse)

Best Director (awarded jointly): Michael Grandage for King Lear (Donmar Warehouse); Thea Sharrock for After The Dance (National Theatre)

Best Designer: Bunny Christie for The White Guard (National Theatre)

Most Promising Playwright: Anya Reiss for Spur Of The Moment (Royal Court)

Most Promising Newcomer: Daniel Kaluuya in Sucker Punch (Royal Court)

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When Paul Freeman as Claudius spoke these words in Matthew Warchus’ production of HAMLET during the opening performances in 1997, he was looking at an alternative Gertrude to the one originally cast.

 Although I understand Diana Quick gave a very fine performance during the early part of the run, it was in fact Susannah York who should have taken the role. The news this weekend of Susannah’s death reminded me of this temporary indisposition caused as a result of a fall from the stage during rehearsals and how she pluckily made every attempt to return to the production as soon as possible, using a stick for some performances when she did eventually play Hamlet’s hapless mother. It was a special performance from an actress long admired for her work in theatre and cinema.

In fact, Susannah was able to make jokes about her fall and the latter certainly did not prevent her from appearing (even with her leg in plaster ) at the Friends’ Birthday celebration event to provide some most enjoyable readings alongside Joanna McCallum. Earlier that season, they had given us a splendid Alice Ford and Meg Page as they sought playful revenge on Leslie Phillips’ delightfully roguish Falstaff in Ian Judge’s lively and enjoyable production of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.

Perhaps some lines towards the end of that play are appropriate as we recall Susannah York’s talents and warm personality (always so charming when you met her outside the RST),not forgetting her special and individual contributions to the 1996/7 season:

“..let us everyone go home,

And laugh this sport o’er by a country fire …”

Tony Boyd-Williams

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As previously indicated, my wife and I took our eldest granddaughter to a recent matinee of MATILDA. It was her first visit to The Courtyard and she thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The two “grown up children”  also had a marvellous time, but I think this is the secret of this wonderful show .In fact, it seems that adults are returning again and again and again. Now that IS significant!

Watching the show for the second time, it was fascinating to experience the interpretation of another talented Matilda (Adrianna Bertola) and to see the production quite literally from another angle. Last time it was from the rear of the stalls, and this time it was from the side of the circle. This meant I was nearer to marvel at the fantastic movement/choreography and also the ingenious way director Matthew Warchus has used the entire auditorium for special production moments and I’m NOT going to reveal these for those who might not yet have seen the show.

If you haven’t then I strongly advise you to make haste to book your tickets before it is a case of RETURNS ONLY for all future performances in Stratford. I say “in Stratford “, because after reading some of the marvellous press notices  it seems clear that this wonderful show will soon be joining Les Miserables as another RSC musical that will be taking the West End by storm. 

Miss Trunchbull has the now celebrated references to “winners and losers “. Here, we certainly have a winner and quite possibly the first (as suggested recently by Michael Boyd ) instance of a West End musical beginning life on a thrust stage. To all concerned – Bravo indeed!

Tony Boyd-Williams

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In case you have not been waiting for press night to book your tickets – here is an early review from Tony! –

For me and I’m sure countless others – this sums up the glorious family show that is MATILDA. I was fortunate to attend the first preview with all the theatrical excitement such occasions bring. Before the performance began, Matthew Warchus came out to inform us that the young lady who was to have played Matilda was indisposed and so one of the other young ladies scheduled to play the role was going on with ten minutes notice.

I can’t comment on the other two Matildas, but on this occasion Kerry Ingram certainly deserved the standing ovation she received at the end of the show. Ten minutes notice? Fantastic – what a stellar performance!

To be fair, all the young people taking part on this occasion gave marvellous performances (as did the grown ups!) with incredible movement and panache on The Courtyard stage. Matthew and the whole production team have truly come up trumps with a show that was so aptly summed up by a colleague in The Duck afterwards -“We’ve got another hit on our hands “.

I’m now looking forward to this coming Saturday when my wife and I are taking our eldest granddaughter to the matinee. She is going to love it and I think the two older “chlidren” with her are also going to have another great time!

More to follow.

Tony Boyd-Williams

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