James Corden, Catherine Tate and Amanda Holden were among the winners at last night’s Whatsonstage.com awards
ceremony, which recognises theatrical achievements over the past year.
In a strong category, Corden beat Benedict Cumberbatch, James Earl Jones, Jude Law, Kevin Spacey and David Tennant to be crowned best actor in a play for his role in the National Theatre’s smash hit comedy, One Man, Two Guvnors. Co-star Oliver Chris claimed best supporting actor in a play – trumping, among others, Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss
and Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill – while the play itself was named best new comedy.
Catherine Tate wasn’t just celebrating winning best supporting actress in a play for her turn in Season’s Greetings - another National Theatre production – last night. Her collaboration with fellow Doctor Who alumnus David Tennant
in Much Ado about Nothing was voted theatre event of the year and
best Shakespearean production, beating the Globe’s rival staging of the same play in this category by only four per cent of the vote.
Australian musician and stand-up Tim Minchin was declared London newcomer of the year for his work on Matilda, the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much-loved children’s story. Matilda also took the best new musical gong, came out on top in the choreography category and saw set designer Rob Howell take the honours for his work on both that show and Ghost the Musical.
Veteran star of stage and screen Vanessa Redgrave was named best actress in a play for Driving Miss Daisy, which also claimed best play revival.
War Horse – the film of the story, based on Michael Morpurgo's children's novel, is currently riding high in UK cinemas – won best West End show.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz – for which he found his Dorothy via a BBC1 talent show - was recognised in the best musical revival list, while another of its stars, Hannah Waddingham, took best supporting actress in a musical.
Elsewhere, Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden was showing some talent of her own, winning best actress in a musical for playing Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical, based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film. Tenor Alfie Boe
, meanwhile, triumphed in the best takeover in a role category for his spell as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.
Slumdog Millionaire’s Danny Boyle was named best director for the National Theatre’s production of Frankenstein
, in which rival Sherlocks
Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature.
Over 70,000 members of the theatregoing public took part in the voting - a 55 per cent increase on the previous year. Comics Alan Davies and Jenny Eclair joined actress Sheridan Smith to host the ceremony, which was held last night at London’s Prince of Wales Theatre.