With help in the judging process from:
Martin Witts, Director, Leicester Square Theatre
Gene David Kirk, Artistic Director, Jermyn Street Theatre
Elinor Hilton, Principal, Elinor Hilton Associates - Actors Agents
The 'snapshot' of Likes above was taken on Monday/Tuesday, July 4/5. For judging process, please see below.
Click on the title for a link to the original review.
Long list in competition - nominations: 24
WhatOnStage review: 'The cast are uniformly excellent and were this on a larger stage and not a fringe production there would be several nominations for best actor! Rarely have I seen such total immersion, where the timing and intimacy is spot on, where every word, gesture and pause are so credible, so passionate and so powerful.'
Independent review: 'The falsetto singing is a joy, and Christopher Finn as Iolanthe, Strephon's fairy mother, achieves an astonishing mix of tenor and falsetto registers in his big second act number. If you still don't like G&S, this is the show to go and see.'
Wiltons Music Hall
Guardian review: '.. explosive two-hander, a frighteningly clear-eyed, viciously funny and deeply sensual examination of the way love shipwrecks us on a desert island from which there can be no rescue. It is simply and sensationally staged by David Mercatali, and performed as if its two actors feel every word simultaneously like a caress along the spine and a fist in the face.'
Evening Standard review: 'The production, by James Dacre, makes shrewd use of the tight space in the smaller of the Trafalgar Studios. The performances are immensely enjoyable. Anthony Welsh exudes raw charm as Sam. Ian Gelder combines dignity and pain as George. And Olivia Hallinan is both spiky and magnetic as Joey.'
London Theatre review: 'Every once in a while a play turns up which has something special to offer. Sometimes it's simply great acting, or a novel idea, or a different take on a subject that's already been done to death. 'Extremities' is one of those shows, an evening of theatre you're not likely to forget in a hurry, thanks to an astonishingly realistic fight scene, terrific ensemble acting, and a staggeringly fine script.'
Guardian review: 'Mae West liked a guy who took his time, and Mike Leigh certainly exercises that privilege in this 2¾-hour play originally seen at Hampstead in 1979. But, although there may be occasional longueurs, Leigh gets there in the end by offering a devastating portrait of the solitude that haunts many of the inhabitants of a teeming city like London.'
Guardian review: '.. this is a reminder that British theatre has produced no more a courageous writer or one who mines our dark, damaged psyches with such forensic thoughtfulness as [Caryl] Churchill.'
London Festival review: 'The directors Tahsin Gemikonakli & Imogen Lewis did a fantastic job with this play, with the creative use of live music (beautifully composed by Max Wilson), choreographed ensemble movement during the Chiefs soliloquies, the use of the cast as the electroshock treatment, and the obvious work that had gone into developing the characters.'
Evening Standard review: 'Visually stylish, this is strange, exploratory and unsettling theatre - a delicious combination of the surreal, the sinister, the comic and the macabre.'
Battersea Arts Centre
Stage review: 'Drew Baker’s riveting, focused new production knits it together superbly, thanks to several thrilling contributions.'
Fringe Review: '.. it is the consummate positioning of staging and visuals that makes it so brilliant. Every moment of the piece is set to perfection.'
Battersea Arts Centre
Telegraph review: 'The West End transfer of this Royal Court hit is every bit as intelligent, funny and provocative on second viewing.'
London Festival review: 'Laura Pradelska plays the whore perfectly as a dangerous, troubled glamour queen, fighting against her alter ego, the nun, played with a sordid innocence by Helen Russell-Clark. They create a diversity which is both humorous and tragic, drawing us in as they release their thoughts directly to us and to each other.'
Guardian review: 'While the writing is densely textured, much of the pleasure lies in the expert timing of the production by Peter DuBois. David Wilson Barnes, who played Max both in Louisville and Off-Broadway, brings to it something of the deadpan wit and dry insouciance we associate with Kevin Spacey.'
Guardian Review: 'Blanche McIntyre's superbly acted production captures precisely the feel of a period of double-lives and double-standards.'
Time Out review: 'Bad things happen but life goes on, with a darker sense of humour: unlike some grittier-than-thou social issue writing, 'The Knowledge' refuses to make a crisis out of a drama and is consequently refreshingly subtle and real.'
West End Whingers review: 'The cast is utterly charming, the singing quite lovely, the comedy delightful and it looks absolutely gorgeous'
What's On Stage review: 'The jokes come thick and fast (the attempt to act out Crystal’s sexual fantasy is uproarious) but the sadness of both characters is what pierces the heart.'
New Red Lion
A Younger Theatre review: 'And what a world it is. Bone is now officially the world record holder for the largest number of characters played by one actor in a single show, and moves through a staggering 80 distinct personalities through the course of the evening. Without props, set or even lighting changes, Bone shifts smoothly from hero to villain, from TV anchorman to answering machine. '
Independent review: '.. this magnificent production, a revival that is as conceptually fresh as it is emotionally devastating.’
What’s On Stage review: '.. this is a show about the roots of theatre itself, the timeless art of telling stories and doing so as simply and as beautifully as possible.'
Guardian review: '.. a poignant and often hilarious study of a Hornbyesque thirtysomething bloke who can't "fold a shirt, pitch a tent, boil spaghetti", its reflections on Beckett so intricately interwoven that even the TV monitor's automatic startup message, "Life's good", comes across like a witty Beckettian reference’
London Festival review: 'There’s murder; gay undertones, and bereavement, combined and interwoven within the plot, and the play’s strength is how these elements are picked out one at a time and then recombined in different ways and at different levels of complexity.’
Old Red Lion
Londonist review: 'The small size of the Rosemary Branch makes a perfect setting for the play, uncompromisingly thrusting you into the heart of the domestic drama and leaving no room for withdrawal from the intimate scene. Millar plays Emma very well, conveying her aspirations and desires with desperate vitality and infusing her fanciful nature with a sense of conviction that cannot fail to provoke sympathy. By contrast, James Burton plays the simple, baffled Charles with an understated pathos and splash of humour that make him a perfect foil to his dramatic wife.’
We wanted to include work by established as well as those not-so-established artists and performers (some awards leave out many worthy contenders). The Facebook and Twitter numbers is a way to do this without specifying criteria but using audience reaction (criteria would always be contentious). Using audience 'likes' allows for a more 'democratic' way to judging the award.
Human nature is a wonderful thing and it is possible that artists and performers will encourage others to 'like' their nominations to increase their number. This is why reviews are also part of the judging process.
We understood at the outset that it was likely that all judges will not have seen/read/heard all entries in their category. We had a choice, either to limit the number of nominations to what judges can be expected to see, or to be more inclusive and bring in those from the Fringe who don't have huge audiences and yet produce amazing work. We decided to be more inclusive.
With so many awards and nominations it would have been impossible to run on the basis that each judge will have seen every nomination in their category and to recognise and nominate great talent/performance when it is reviewed.
In any case all are in good company and all are worthy of winning the award.
There is no perfect judging process, however, the democratic part to the judging process, and the review commentary, as well as the judges' expert opinion, will together give us a fair and transparent process and a credible winner.
Each nomination below is based on a highly rated review in the national press. There is a Facebook and a Twitter button with a number of 'Likes' against each nomination. There are also a number of Likes on the original online review (there may be other online reviews but we can only take one into account). We shortlist nominations with the highest number of Likes from both pages and ask judges in each category to help decide the winner from the shortlist. Very occasionally there is a review that does not have the Facebook and Twitter buttons because the publication has not included them and so we have taken the numbers from the award page.
Note that the number of Facebook Likes on the award page is occasionally different from that on the the online review. It's probably because the original review page was changed (perhaps being updated) in some way after the nomination and Facebook starts counting again, so to account for this we only take the highest number.
We ask each judge to give us their top three in order of preference from the shortlist. We'll merge that with the other judge's preferences and that should give a clear winner. If not, a discussion between the judges should do so, and if there is yet no agreement, the London Awards Director will have casting vote.
All nominees are invited to the ceremony.