The Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with Bill Kenwright are presenting a new stage production of The Exorcist, adapted by John Pielmeier from the novel by William Peter Blatty. The prod...
Olivier Awards 2016 Shenton's Picks: Actress Categories
With the 2016 Olivier Awards now just a month away, we are continuing to showcase the awards and the nominees over the next five weeks. We sat down with Mark Shenton, head of the Critics' Circle and reviewer for LondonTheatre.co.uk to talk through the nominations and find out his top pick in each category, as well as find out who he thinks is most likely to walk away with the coveted awards at the 2016 ceremony.
To kick things off we chose to look at the Best Actress categories which takes in the awards for Best Leading Actress in a Play and Musical as well as Best Supporting Actress in both fields.
Denise Gough in People, Places and Things
Gemma Arterton – Nell Gwynn at the Apollo Theatre
Denise Gough - People, Places and Things at the National Theatre
Nicole Kidman - Photograph 51 at the Noel Coward Theatre
Janet McTeer - Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Donmar
Lia Williams - Oresteia at the Almeida
This is a great category. My own favourite is the Critics' Circle Award winner Denise Gough who gave an extraordinary performance in People, Places and Things that's about to come into the West End. Equally I think Gemma Arterton is amazing in Nell Gwynn, and Lia Williams is one of my favourite actresses. I love this whole category - everybody deserves a nomination! I didn't spot any omissions, although there's always going to be someone else...
Michele Dotrice in Nell Gwynn
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Judi Dench – The Winter's Tale at the Garrick Theatre
Melody Grove – Farinelli and the King at the Duke of York's
Michele Dotrice – Nell Gwynn at the Apollo Theatre
Catherine Steadman – Oppenheimer at the Vaudeville
Judi Dench is the clear front runner as she's much beloved and she was wonderful in The Winter's Tale. She's has something like 15 nominations and 6 wins, and it would be nice to see her get a 7th win. Equally, I did think that Michele Dotrice was amazing in Nell Gwynn - a scene stealing performance. I don't remember who Catherine Steadman played and I was slightly puzzled about Oppenheimer just getting that one nomination. I would have thought it would have got a play nomination as it got five star reviews? It's odd that it was remembered for this award...I think they'll probably go with Judi Dench however who can't walk onstage without winning an award!
Mark's Winner: Michele Dotrice (Nell Gwynn)
Predicted Winner: Judi Dench (The Winter's Tale)
Imelda Staunton in Gypsy
Best Actress in a Musical
Tracie Bennett – Mrs Henderson Presents at the Noel Coward
Natalie Dew – Bend it Like Beckham at the Phoenix Theatre
Laura Pitt-Pulford – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Open Air
Imelda Staunton – Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre
Sophie Thompson – Guys and Dolls at the Savoy Theatre
There's no point in even discussing this - she may as well have engraved the statue last year! Imelda Staunton is obviously going to win this award, she's a clear front runner. Having said that I think Natalie Dew is wonderful, her first time ever on the stage and her West End debut in 'Bend it Like Beckham'. She deserves an award but sadly she won't get it this year. Nice to see Laura Pitt-Pulford who's one of the rank and file hard workers of the West End up there in the leading category.
Lara Pulver in Gypsy
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Preeya Kalidas – Bend it Like Beckham at the Phoenix Theatre
Lara Pulver – Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre
Amy Lennox – Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre
Emma Williams – Mrs Henderson Presents at the Noel Coward Theatre
This is a category which I think is wide open actually, but I think Lara Pulver might get it because she's the other leading role in 'Gypsy'. I adored Emma Williams for her guts if nothing else. Amy Lennox is a popular choice, and Preeya Kalidas is just gorgeous in Bend it Like Beckham.
Next week we take a look at the Actors in each of the Olivier Award 2016 categories...