Edinburgh Dominates CATS

Jun 11 2017 | By More

Edinburgh companies win big at CATS

Half the winners at this year’s Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland are Edinburgh-based productions, with the Lyceum winning three and the Traverse with Red Bridge Arts, two awards.

Black Beauty, by Red Bridge Arts and the Traverse Theatre Company won two awards. Creators, Andy Manley, Andy Cannon, Ian Cameron and Shona Reppe won best play for children and young people, while the design team of Shona Reppe and lighting designer Simon Wilkinson won best design.

Andy Cannon (left) with Andy Manley in Black Beauty. Photo Mihaela Bodlovic

The Lyceum’s awards went to three different shows staged during David Greig’s inaugural season as artistic director of the theatre. Although none were in the company’s main subscription season.

The team behind the sound for Wind Resistance – Pippa Murphy (sound designer), Karine Polwart (composer and musical director), Ben Seal (live sound) and Mark Whyles (live sound) – won best music and sound.

The backstage team responsible for getting Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on stage won best technical presentation, a real feather in the cap for the theatre and its normally unsung team of technical staff.

While Zinnie Harris – winner of best new play at last year’s awards – emerged as the winner of best director this year, for her take on Caryl Churchill’s A Number.

Elsewhere, Dundee Rep’s production of Death of Salesman took three awards: best production, the best ensemble award and Billy Mack won the best male performance award for his turn as Willy Loman.

The best female performance went to Nicole Cooper for her take on Coriolanus in a gender-reversed production staged by Glasgow’s Bard in the Botanics and the final award went to Kieran Hurley, which his play Heads Up giving him his second win in the best new play category.

The 2017 CATS in full

Billy Mack (Willy Loman), Death of a Salesman, Dundee Rep Ensemble

Best Male Performance – Billy Mack (Dundee Rep Ensemble) in Death of a Salesman. Pic Jane Hobson

“Billy Mack’s performance as Willy Loman was unforgettable. He movingly ran the gamut of Willy’s emotions, raging against what life has done to him, bursting into unfounded optimism and finally, heartbreakingly, the realisation that it has all been for nothing.” Joy Watters, Across the Arts.

BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE, sponsored by the Scottish Drama Training Network
Nicole Cooper (Coriolanus), Coriolanus, Bard in the Botanics

Best Female Performance – Nicole Cooper in the title role in the Bard in the Botanics production of Coriolanus, Pic: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

“As Coriolanus in Bard in the Botanics’ stripped-back production of Shakespeare’s war-time classic, Nicole Cooper took on a role usually associated with unhinged machismo and stomped her way through the Kibble Palace with a whirlwind-like ferocity. This not only gave the play a fresh edge of femininity in a still contemporary work, but pointed to a major actor, who can tackle big roles with a mix of fearlessness and sensitivity.” Neil Cooper, The Herald.

BEST ENSEMBLE, sponsored by Equity
Death of a Salesman, Dundee Rep Ensemble
“The best productions of Death of a Salesman put Willy Loman in context, and that’s what the ensemble do here. His sons, wife, neighbour and uncle all prop up Willy’s pain and amplify his situation. The cast worked together to do this selflessly and brilliantly.” Anna Burnside, Daily Record.

Zinnie Harris, A Number, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in partnership with Edinburgh International Science Festival

Best Director, Zinnie Harris, A Number -Royal Lyceum. Pic: Aly Wight

“Zinnie Harris’s production of Caryl Churchill’s futuristic drama about cloning reflected brilliantly the careful, sharp-yet-nuanced structure of the play itself. Like a great, modernist concerto, her direction combined enthralling dissonance with a deep emotional and psychological connection.” Mark Brown, Sunday Herald/The Telegraph.

Shona Reppe (designer) and Simon Wilkinson (lighting designer), Black Beauty, Red Bridge and Traverse Theatre Company.
“Designer Shona Reppe brought a punctilious, modeller’s eye to the details of her wonderful horse-box set, enveloped in Simon Wilkinson’s clever lighting, for Black Beauty. This was more than decoration, however, but itself a cleverly versatile stage for the performers to bring all their storytelling abilities, whether as a puppeteer’s booth, New Town party house or farmhouse nursery. When boots can turn into horses and a pink rubber glove into a cow, you know that here magic can be made.” Thom Dibdin, The Stage.

Pippa Murphy (sound designer), Karine Polwart (composer and musical director), Ben Seal (live sound) and Mark Whyles (live sound), Wind Resistance, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with Edinburgh International Festival

Best Music and Sound Wind Resistance – Royal Lyceum. Pic: Aly Wight

“It goes without saying that Karine Polwart’s live score for Wind Resistance was exquisite. The four times winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards is no stranger to acclaim. But what made this show more special still was the audio work done by her whole team. Not only did we enjoy the purity of her singing voice, accompanied by tenor guitar, finger piano and live vocal loops, but also the expert mixing of Ben Seal and Mark Whyles and the superb immersive sound design of Pippa Murphy.” Mark Fisher, The Guardian.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh

Best Technical Presentation – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Royal Lyceum. Pic: Drew Farrell

“The ‘wonder’ in Wonderland simply wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the stellar technical execution of the Royal Lyceum’s Christmas production. Whether it was making Alice fly, allowing the complicated design to flawlessly unfold or ensuring the tea party didn’t literally crash into the audience, the technical team were the unsung heroes behind a brilliant and entertaining production.” Michael Cox, Across the Arts.

Black Beauty, Red Bridge and Traverse Theatre Company
“Anna Sewell’s classic story about animal welfare gets an inspired make-over in this production about the lives and hard-luck times of two brothers who perform as a pantomime horse. Hugely funny, but also genuinely moving in bringing the essential themes of Black Beauty – kindness, courage, respect for others – to young audiences.” Mary Brennan, The Herald.

Kieran Hurley, Heads Up, Show and Tell and Kieran Hurley

Best New Play – Kieran Hurley Heads Up. Pic: Niall Walker

“The combination of lyrical power and sensitive characterisation ensures that Kieran Hurley’s Heads Up goes beyond the rhetorical reflection on the end of times and becomes a bold example of the contemporary monologue. Heartfelt and intelligent, it is a worthy winner that is both brutal and compassionate”. Gareth Vile, The List.

Death of a Salesman, Dundee Rep Ensemble
“Dundee Rep used all the resources of its fine ensemble company to produce a beautiful, memorable and heart-breaking production of Death of a Salesman. The Rep used superb design and sound to set one of the 20th century’s greatest plays in its full historical context, while always remaining fully focused on the profound and enduring human tragedy at the heart of the story.” Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman.


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