GT’s alternative Oliviers
With the Olivier Awards just around the corner, every West End Wendy who knows his Barbras from his Bettes will be praying his favourites come home with the glory.
More from Simon Pollard
Here at GT Towers, we feel the time is right for our own little ceremony to celebrate the West End highlights of the past year. Oh, and we’ve made up our own categories. Because we can.
Hottest male performance
Chris Ellis-Stanton – Legally Blonde
Jonathan Groff – Deathtrap
Ramin Karimloo – Love Never Dies
Gavin Creel – Hair
A very tough category. Chris put in a good showing with those unfeasibly tight shorts as Kyle in Legally Blonde. Glee star Jonathan’s charming American smile and floppy fringe left us weak at the knees, and Ramin proved it’s possible to be sexy with half of your face covered with a mask, but in the end there could only be one winner. Step forward gorgeous Gavin with your flowing hair and soaring voice. How have you and the wonderful Hair been so overlooked at all other awards ceremonies? Who knows? But now you can rest easy, knowing you have run away with the GT award for Hottest Male Performance.
Campest female performance
Denise Van Outen – Legally Blonde
Josefina Gabrielle – Sweet Charity
Frances Barber – Les Parents Terribles
Tracie Bennett – End of the Rainbow
We know that Jill Halfpenny originated the role of Paulette, but for us, it was all about Denise, delivering the one-liners with panache and belting like her life depended on it. Josefina stole the show with her dual role as a feisty hooker and demanding diva and every role Dame Frances plays is a masterclass in classy camp; but in the end they were all pipped to the post by the unstoppable Tracie Bennett who can now add this Campest Female Performance award to her mantelpiece full of Oliviers. She drinks, she sings, she’s playing Judy for Liza’s sake, we couldn’t have not given it to her!
Summer Strallen – Love Never Dies
Liz Robertson – Love Never Dies
Siobhan Dillon – Legally Blonde
Hannah Waddingham – Into The Woods
Every show needs its villain, and Love Neve Dies put up a pretty good fight in this category with two fabulously bad-ass bitches – Summer Strallen as the psychotic Meg, and Liz Robertson as her creepy Mrs. Danvers-esque mother. Caroline O’ Keiff may have originated the role, but it was only when Siobhan Dillon took over that we really felt the full force of the bitchy Vivienne Kensington. However, Hannah Waddingham’s performance as the Witch in Into The Woods, hideous one minute, glam-as-hell the next, left the competition trailing behind her in a cloud of green smoke. She was so convincing, she’s now stealing the show once again as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
Tamsin Grieg – The Little Dog Laughed
Matt Lucas & Jenny Galloway – Les Miserables 25th Anniversary concert
Sheridan Smith – Legally Blonde
Sophie Thompson – Clybourne Park/Sondheim at 80 Company concert
We love to laugh. So it’s only right that there should be an award for those who have tickled our funny bone this past year. Tamsin gave us acerbic wit and Matt and Jenny gave us the best bantering comedy duo since the Chuckle Brothers. Sheridan’s comic timing as Elle Woods was pure genius, and she seemed unbeatable in this category. But when we saw Sophie Thompson in the Royal Court’s Clybourne Park, and then as the marriage-phobic Amy in the Donmar Warehouse’s concert performance of Company, we nearly wet ourselves. Several times.
Best casting of a reality show runner-up
Aoife Mulholland – Legally Blonde
Daniel Boys – Wolfboy
Niamh Perry – Love Never Dies
Rachel Tucker – Wicked
It sounds cheesy, but the losers are so often the winners in the world of reality TV. Our favourite Maria Aoife whipped herself into shape, and us into a frenzy as fitness queen Brooke Wyndhams, whilst Niamh was sizzling but underused in her role as Fleck in LND. We love the Boys, and he was as smouldering and sexy as ever in Wolfboy. But you know we’re a sucker for a green girl, and feisty Nancy Rachel riffs the hell out of those epic Elphaba anthems.
The rather-more-discerning-musical-gay award for Best Sondheim production
Into The Woods – Regent’s Park
Assassins – The Union Theatre
Passion – Donmar Warehouse
Sondheim at 80 concerts of Company and Merrily We Roll Along
Musical theatre isn’t all sequins and jazz hands, and thankfully we had whole load of Sondheim last year to celebrate the legend turning 80. All of them stunningly brilliant in their own way, but the Donmar’s concerts have to win this category thanks to their all-star casts performing two of Sondheim’s greatest scores. More please!
The ‘we-could-listen-to-your-voice-for-hours-please-don’t-ever-stop-singing’ award for pure unadulterated talent
Ramin Karimloo – Love Never Dies
Sierra Bogess – Love Never Dies
Alfie Boe - Les Miserables 25th Anniversary concert
Lea Salonga – Les Miserables 25th Anniversary concert
If music was porn, we would get through a box of man-size Kleenex very quickly listening to these beauties. Both Ramin and Sierra sent shivers down our spines in the otherwise vaguely ‘meh’ LND, and the Les Mis 25 finale which saw Alfie singing Bring Him Home with 3 other Jean Valjeans was the stuff of (wet) dreams. But seeing and hearing his co-star Lea perform in the flesh was a lifetime ambition fulfilled. All memories of SuBo were quickly forgotten (at last) with her gorgeous I Dreamed A Dream.
Campest thing ever
Sheridan Smith’s Legally Blonde costumes
“What A Feeling” dance routine in Flashdance
The whole of Iolanthe at the Union Theatre
Lucy May Barker in a PVC nurse’s uniform singing I Am Not A Robot in Earthquakes In London
Sheridan looked gorgeously camp-as-tits throughout LB, with a range of outfits including pink velour tracksuit and our current favourite gaycessory - the dog-in-a-bag. There aren’t many things camper than a welder doing some nifty Arlene Phillips choreography before throwing water over herself, but then along comes an operetta (come on, even the word is camp) about fairies, in which all the fairies are played by twinky boys…the Union team very nearly had it, but gay-icon-in-the-making Lucy May Barker stole the crown in a routine that surely needs no further explanation. We demand she releases it as a single!
The Gay Icon Award for general all-round fabulousness
Caroline O’ Connor
And finally, the award you’ve all been waiting for. Who will join the hallowed ranks of Judy, Liza, Barbra & Bette as icons who we shan’t forget? Caroline and Shoshana both graced us with one-woman shows this year – we wished they’d have stayed for longer! We’ve loved La Waddingham since The Beautiful Game and she is fast-becoming a West End national treasure. But 2010 was definitely all about one lady. Ohmigod you gays - Sheridan Smith we love you!
If you still haven’t had your fill of awards, you can see how the Oliviers pan out for yourself on BBC Radio 2 this Sunday evening!