The cream of the west end came together to recognise and acknowledge the very best of what British theatre has to offer in a stunning and stylish manner at The Whats On Stage Awards on Sunday 15th February at The Prince of Wales Theatre.
This was undoubtedly a wonderful celebration of British theatre at its most successful, both production wise and creatively, acknowledging all fields of talent and hard work.
Mel Giedroyc and Steve Furst were a formidable comedy duo who presented the awards with a flair for the theatrical, a passion for all things showbiz and a ‘wicked’ sense of humour.
A hilarious musical opening number from Mel left the audience in the right frame of mind for an evening of what was to follow.
The show that stole, well the show, was Cameron Mackintosh’s West End Revival of Miss Saigon. Sweeping a whopping 9 awards (from its 12 nominations) it won for:
Jon Jon Briones for Best Actor in a Musical, Kwang-Ho Hong for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical,
Eva Noblezada for Best Actress in a Musical, Rachelle Ann Go for Best Supoorting Actress in a Musical, Bob Avian and Geoffrey Barratt for Best Choreography, Laurence Conner for Best Direction and Totie Driver and Matt Kinley for Best Set Design – who were clearly very moved and overwhelmed by the award.
Cameron Mackintosh was present and commented on the huge success of the show and mentioned, alongside Claude Michel Schonberg, how poignant this was not only as a phenomenal West End revival but also as it marked his 50th year in this wonderful business of show.
Other awards went to Memphis The Musical for Best New Musical Category with a pure masterclass performance from Beverly Knight currently starring in the hit musical. Kerry Ellis, currently of Cats at The London Palladium won Best Takeover in a role for Elphaba in Wicked and looked every bit the West End starlet.
Best Actor went to David Tennant for RSC’s Richard II and he went on to make a passionate speech about the top class production of British theatre and protecting our creative industry.
Billie Piper won Best Actress for her role in The National Theatres Great Britain and sent a rather wind swept but comical I phone acceptance speech in.
It was nice to see the Best Regional Production go to the Sheffield Theatre for their production of Oliver and acknowledging the hard work and effort that goes into producing theatre outside of London and the Best Off-West End Production go to Sweeney Todd at the Twickenham Theatre.
Coriolanus, at the Donmar Warehouse, had a mini sweep at the awards too winning three awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for Mark Gatiss, Best Play Revival and Best Lighting Design for Mark Henderson.
Best New Play went to Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre.
There were some stand out vocal performances throughout the evening as the West Ends top talent joined to make this an unforgettable evening. Two Award Winners from Miss Saigon Eva Noblezada and Rachelle Ann Go gave a very moving performance of Movie In My Mind from their hit show Miss Saigon.
A fabulous Rogers and Hammerstein medley was delivered by the gorgeous tones of Sophia Ragavelas (Cats), the dulcet sounds of Michael Watson (Jersey Boys) and the beautiful voices of Laura Tebbutt (Forbidden Broadway) and Lauren Samuels (Bend It Like Beckham).
Anna Jane Casey brought the evening to a close with her phenomenal voice joined by two fabulous singing sirens which raised the roof and sent the audience away looking forward to what the UK has to offer in 2015!
Reviewed by Matthew Wren Andrew