Edinburgh cream of CATS

Jun 10 2018 | By More

Eight out of Ten CATS prefer Edinburgh

Eight out of the ten awards handed out at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland have been won by productions made or commissioned in Edinburgh.

The major winner at the awards was Rhinoceros, a co-production between the Lyceum and the Edinburgh International Festival in association with DOT Theatre, Istanbul, which took four awards including Best Production.

Ece Dizdar and Robert Jack in Rhinoceros. Pic: Beth Chalmers

The EIF is associated with a further two awards, the Lyceum one more and the award for theatre for Children and Young People went to Edinburgh-based performer Andy Cannon with RedBridge Arts.

Rhinoceros won DOT Theatre’s Murat Daltaban the best director award and judge Mark Brown of the Daily Telegraph said the win had a particular significance.

Brown said: “The play is a powerful warning about the dangers of conformity, of a mass succumbing to a social miasma that robs us of our culture, our freedom and, ultimately, our humanity.

“The times in which we live can feel like the 1930s with the film running slightly slower. That is particularly true of Murat’s homeland Turkey, where freedom of thought and expression, not least the freedoms of theatre makers, are currently under serious threat.”

defiantly Scottish swagger

The production also won Best Music and Sound for composer Oguz Kaplangi who underlined the defiantly Scottish swagger to proceedings with quietly insistent Turkish music.

A scene from Flight by Vox Motus. Pic Beth Chalmers

Robert Jack took best male performer for his role as shambling everyman Berenger. In his review, Æ’s Hugh Simpson described him as “an unlikely hero, but he has both a crumpled sympathy and a tragic grace as he seeks to retain his humanity in the face of the pachydermal tide.”

The EIF’s other wins came in the Best Design and Best Technical Presentation awards, both won by Flight which was an EIF commission from Vox Motus in association with Beacon Arts Centre.

Anna Burnside of the Daily Record said: “Flight, used pre-recorded voices and soundtrack to accompany a revolving diorama to tell the story of two refugees fleeing to Europe. Every single element was an impressive technical achievement, adding up to an extraordinary and unique theatrical experience.”

The Lyceum also took the best ensemble award for The Belle’s Stratagem, the updating by Tony Cownie of Hannah Cowley’s 1780 comedy to Georgian Edinburgh.

intense theatricality

Æ’s Thom Dibdin presented the award, saying: “The cast of this stylish, colourful comedy took it close to pantomime in their occasional breaking of the fourth wall. But they retained an intense theatricality in a series of generous performances that served both the comedy – with brilliant understanding of its rhythm – and the more serious points in a script that celebrates women as the driving force of its narrative.”

Scandal in Georgian Edinburgh: Nicola Roy, Helen Mackay and Pauline Knowles in The Belle’s Stratagem. Pic Mihaela Bodlovic

Andy Cannon and Red Bridge Arts took best theatre for Children and Young People with Space Ape, in which Cannon’s boyhood fascination with the 1969 moon landing is the starting point for an engaging solo show in which science and imagination take flight together in a wishful- thinking story about a girl, a chimpanzee and a manned mission to Mars.

The best female performance went to Jessica Hardwick as The Young Woman in Lu Kemp’s revival of Knives in Hens at Perth Theatre, of which Neil Cooper from the Herald said: “Hardwick’s emotional depth as an actress fired up the stage with an urgency that suggested she was willing to fly without a safety net”.

Best new play went to Peter Arnott for his adaptation of The Monarch of the Glen for Pitlochry Festival Theatre which provided a “multi-layered play that cleverly looks at Scotland’s place in the modern world” according to Michael Cox of Across the Arts.


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  1. 2018 CATS in Full : All Edinburgh Theatre.com | Jun 10 2018