Gray Wins Stage Award

August 17, 2015 | By | Reply More

Andy Gray’s Willie is an “unmissable tour de force”.

Andy Gray has won a coveted Stage Award for Acting Excellence for his performance as William Donaldson in Willie and Sebastian at the Gilded Balloon.

The stage has a dozen or so of these awards to give out to a combination of solo performers, single actors in a larger cast and whole ensembles. That is a dozen awards total, to the 3,000 shows being staged during the fringe.

The moment Andy realises what is going on! Photo: Rowan Campbell

The moment Andy realises what is going on! Photo: Rowan Campbell

The awards are the only ones to recognise the actor in the whole process – they are for the performance not the production, the performer not the playwright.

And they are given out by the Stage – the newspaper of the theatre industry and the place you turn to for authoritative accounts of what is going on in theatre land.

As the Stage’s year-round Scotland correspondent it was up to me to organise this particular award, Andy being an actor of this parish, as it were. Although it was my colleague Nick Awde who saw the show for the stage and made the initial nomination – click here for his review and here for Hugh’s review for Æ.

I must admit to be being a great fan of Andy’s work. He is one of the best contemporary performers of the Scottish music hall tradition, as his many fans of the Edinburgh King’s pantomime will tell you. But he is also an immensely talented straight actor who has the ability to bring the techniques of music hall into other works.

These Stage awards are tricky. They don’t have their own ceremony, but are given out on-the-hoof, hopefully with a wee hand-over at the end of a show. Not easy, given the turn-around-times at the Fringe. The manager responsible for the smooth running of the venue rarely greets such an idea with glee!

However Grant Stott, Andy’s colleague in comedy at Christmas and his co-star in the show playing Sebastian Horseley, seemed the perfect collaborator for such an enterprise.

And so he was. Of course, being the showman that he is, he insisted that the handover be given on the busiest night of the week – if not the run – the second Saturday of the Fringe. Not only was there a sell-out audience, but Andy had pals and loved ones in. Grant was sure that he and their co-star Michelle Gallagher, together with the venue staff, could all conspire to keep Andy in the dark about the plans.

So on Saturday night, as the applause rang out a the end of the show, Grant held up his hands to stop everyone in their places – displaying a sense of timing he has surely learned from Andy by riding the applause but still catching that delicate moment before everyone makes a rush to leave.

And I had the immense pleasure of rendering the great Andy Gray speechless when he realised why this strange beardy man was invading their stage.

So, ladies and gentlemen, please give it up to the rafters for Andy Gray, winner of a Stage Award for Acting Excellence.

Check out the video Grant made of the handover – the look on Andy’s face is priceless!

Oh, and go and see the show – there are still some tickets left. As I am sure Grant will be now telling everyone: “It’s a prize-winning show, don’t you know”.

Willie and Sebastian
Gilded Balloon (Venue 14) Teviot Row House, EH8 9AJ
Wednesday 5 – Monday 31 August 2015
Daily (not Mon 17) at 8.15 pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/willie-and-sebastian

ENDS

 

 

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