Monday, 29 March 2021

The Basic Theatre Awards 2021 - The Results!

Hey readers!

After a long wait, I am pleased to at least declare I can now reveal the winners of the 2021 Basic Theatre Awards. Whilst this year proved turbulent for the performing arts, I am thrilled to have had the chance to celebrate it in this small way. In spite of the obstacles that presented themselves, there were some excellent shows throughout the course of 2020. This year's awards surpassed 200 voters, making it one of the most popular ever award seasons in the website's history. As a result, I would like to thank all of those that made this possible by voting and spreading the word. And now, without further ado, here are the winners of the Basic Theatre Awards 2021...

Winning with 98% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Understudy goes to...

Gillian Ford in Everybody's Talking About Jamie as Margaret New in the West End!

At the performance I attended of Everybody's Talking About Jamie, the character of Margaret New was portrayed by Gillian Ford, and I am so glad to have had the opportunity to see her performance. She was extremely believable in the role of a caring Mother, and her rendition of 'He's My Boy' proved to be an absolute show-stopper. The number truly brought the house down, and she had the audience in the palm of her hands throughout. 

Winning with 67% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Digital Production goes to...

Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Celebration!

Take Me to the World was an incredible event to behold, and I was well and truly awe-inspired. The digital production featured a considerable number of my favourite musical artists, including the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Ben Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The event itself was extremely well assembled, helping to showcase a wide variety of Sondheim classics. It was a perfect tribute to the composer's long-lasting legacy, and it was a fantastic way to honour his contribution to the performing arts. 

The other nominee was:
  • Kings of Broadway 2020: A Celebration Of The Music Of Jule Styne, Jerry Herman & Stephen Sondheim

Winning with 55% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play goes to...

Lesley Manville in The Visit as Claire Zachanassian in the West End!

Lesley Manville was utterly outstanding in her portrayal of Claire; her performance was complete perfection. She really threw herself into the role, delivering a portrayal that felt highly authentic. Manville created the perfect characterisation for the role, perfectly balancing the character's vindictive nature with her inner-sadness and pain. In addition to this, she had a captivating stage presence, immediately stealing the spotlight upon her entrance.

The other nominees were:
  • Niamh Cusack - My Brilliant Friend
  • Catherine McCormack - My Brilliant Friend

Winning with 57% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical...

Charlie Stemp in Mary Poppins as Bert in the West End!

Charlie Stemp's portrayal of Bert exudes charisma, and the shear amount of energy he puts into his performance throughout the show is second to none. As a performer, Stemp is notable for his rather unique skill in the sense that he is a true triple threat; he is a superb actor, a magnificent singer and a marvellous dancer. In particular, his tap-dancing abilities are among the best I have seen in any theatrical production to date. 

The other nominees were:
  • Pepe Nufrio - Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Ricardo Afonso - Jesus Christ Superstar
Winning with 43% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical goes to...

Joseph Millson in Mary Poppins as George Banks in the West End!

The character of George Banks is stern and practical, representing the stereotypical 'stiff upper lip' British gentleman that could be found in the Edwardian era. Millson conveyed this very well, through a careful mix of his mannerisms and dialect. The character however slowly transforms as the show goes on, and George transitions into a more heartfelt and sympathetic figure. This too was portrayed convincingly by Millson, who subsequently gave a faultless performance. 

The other nominees were:
  • David Thaxton - Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Cory English - Sleepless
Winning with 72% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical goes to...

Zizi Strallen in Mary Poppins as the titular character in the West End!

As corny as this may be, Zizi Strallen's performance is "practically perfect in every way"! Strallen boasts an excellent characterisation, due to the way in which she balances Mary's elegance along with the character's friendliness and warmth. Her singing skills are equally as excellent, with her rendition of 'Practically Perfect' being a particular highlight of the show. If this weren't already enough, Strallen is a gifted dancer too, as demonstrated through the dazzling musical number 'Step in Time'. 

The other nominee was:
  • Kimberley Walsh - Sleepless
Winning with 49% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical goes to...

Alexia Khadime in The Prince of Egypt as Miriam!

Alexia Khadime is skilled in all aspects of her performance, though the quality of her singing is simply unsurpassed. She has a truly beautiful voice, and each song of hers was a delight to listen to. In particular, her rendition of 'When You Believe' was enchanting, and proved to be an overall highlight of the entire production. This number was an absolute show-stopper, and remains one of the best theatrical moments of 2020.

The other nominees were:
  • Claire Machin - Mary Poppins
  • Maimuna Memon - Jesus Christ Superstar
Winning with 45% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Production of a Musical goes to...

Everybody's Talking About Jamie in the West End!

I first saw Everybody's Talking About Jamie shortly after it had first opened in December 2017, and was overjoyed to have had the privilege of seeing it again two years after my first encounter. The narrative of the show is an extremely moving; it is a thoroughly uplifting story, and you are likely to leave the theatre walking on air. In addition to this, the musical score is simply marvellous. There are a number of really catchy tunes, all of which are likely to be remembered months after watching the show. 

The other nominees were:
  • Mary Poppins - West End
  • Jesus Christ Superstar - West End
Winning with 49% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Production of a Play goes to...

Aamira and Gad in the Off-West End!

In all my years of attending the theatre, I don't believe I've ever encountered anything quite as distinctive as Aamira and Gad. It was a unique experience, and the producers should be commended for their ambition and creativity. Beyond the production itself, the show is also notable for its stellar cast. In particular, the two leading performances were striking, with both actresses illustrating the innocence of childhood within their characterisations. 

The other nominees were:
  • Leopoldstadt - West End 
  • Beat the Devil - Off-West End
Winning with 44% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play goes to...

Gabriel Fogarty-Graveson in Dream Machine as Various Characters!

Gabriel Fogarty-Graveon is an extremely talented actor, whose performance was full of energy throughout the entirety of the show. He bounced off of his fellow actors well, and he had fantastic chemistry with all of those that he shared the stage with. Beyond this, Fogarty-Graveson demonstrated a natural comedic ability, and his comic timing was utterly impeccable. Considering that the show is entirely improvised, this makes his comedic skills all the more impressive.

The other nominees were:
  • Ben Turner - My Brilliant Friend
  • Adrian Scarborough - Leopoldstadt
Winning with 52% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play goes to...

Gabriel Fogarty-Graveson in The Co-Op as Jimmy!

I am pleased to declare that Gabriel Fogarty-Graveson is officially the first ever actor to have two Basic Theatre Awards within the space of one year, making Basic Theatre history in the process! Fogarty-Graveson really immersed himself in the role of Jimmy, giving a performance that felt genuine and life-like. Additionally, he was requited to portray various other roles throughout the course of the play, during which he exhibited a great deal of versatility. 

The other nominees were:
  • Hugo Weaving - The Visit
  • Ralph Fiennes - Beat the Devil
Winning with 57% of the votes cast, the Basic Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Play goes to...

Molly-Rose Treves in Dream Machine as Various Characters!

Molly-Rose Treves' performance in Dream Machine was among one of the funniest performances I have seen in theatre over the past year. Her comedic skills are truly unrivalled; she had the audience in stitches. Additionally, Rose-Treves' ability to interchange characters at a moment's notice was particularly impressive; this would often have to be done within a number of seconds, which is by no means an easy task. It was an all-round incredible performance!

The other nominees were:
  • Michelle Pittoni - The Misadventures of David and Sam
  • Faye Castelow - Leopoldstadt
And on that note, the 2021 Basic Theatre Awards must officially come to a close! Congratulations to all of those that won, as well as those that were nominated. In spite of the various lockdowns in-between, this was an extremely competitive season, as demonstrated by the sheer amount of talent found within this year's nominees. Once again, thank you to everyone who took part!

Thanks for reading!

-The Basic Theatre Reviewer

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Online Theatre: Ergon: Threads

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Ergon: Threads. 
‘ERGON: Threads’ is a short audio piece that tells the story of Charley, a young, everyday online shopper, following the journey of a T-shirt from inception to delivery, accompanied by an AI voice operator: WILFRED.

Ergon: Threads is an audio drama, meaning that it depends solely on dialogue, music and sound effects in order to help the listener imagine the story being told. Audio dramas are somewhat rare to come across nowadays, so it was intriguing to discover this hidden gem of theatre. The show tackles the topic of climate change, exploring the ways in which humans have contributed to global warming. In particular, it places its focus on how excessive levels of shopping have helped to fuel this man-made disaster, and thus seeks to raise awareness for the issue at hand. Climate change is an extremely important topic, and one which needs as much recognition as possible. As a result, I commend the Egon Theatre Company for having produced this piece.

The way in which the audio drama showcased the issue at hand was extremely unique, though it was effective nonetheless. Theatre has great educational value to it, meaning that this served as the perfect platform for spreading awareness. I myself learnt quite a lot from the piece, and found it captivating throughout. Ergon: Threads is also notable for having widespread appeal, which further strengthens its message. People of all ages are likely to understand and appreciate it, and therefore it is something that I would recommend for all. 

Thanks for reading!

-The Basic Theatre Reviewer