Edinburgh’s CATS credits

Nov 12 2020 | By More

Half noms; majority of wins have Edinburgh credits

This year’s delayed Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland have been announced, with Edinburgh associations for 20 of the 41 nominations and winners in seven of the ten categories.

The CATS have been delayed by five months due to Covid-19, with the judges making several unprecedented decisions, including to announce the shortlist of nominees and the winners at the same time.

Tom McGovern in The Signalman. Photo by Leslie Black

The big winner at the CATS is Peter Arnott’s play The Signalman, in which Tom McGovern played the railway worker in charge of the southern signal box on the night of the Tay Bridge Disaster.

The A Play, A Pie and A Pint production was in association with the Traverse and picked up four nominations including Ken Alexander for his direction which had a “strong sense of drive and inevitability” according to our review (★★★★★ Riveting).

While Alexander eventually lost out to Elizabeth Newman for her direction of Faith Healer at Pitlochry, the production won in three categories.

Arnott took best play, McGovern took best male performance and the whole thing took best overall production – a category which had an unprecedented five nominations on the shortlist.

Best female performance

The Traverse was also host to The Panopticon, the National Theatre of Scotland production by Jenni Fagan, writing from personal experience. Anna Russell-Martin took best female performance for her magnetic performance as Anais, the 15-year-old resident of a care home, who dreams of reinventing herself.

Anna Russell-Martin, winner of Best Female Performance in The Panopticon. Pic Mihaela Bodlovic

The Lyceum is particularly well represented with six nominations for two different productions. Zinnie Harris was nominated for best play for The Duchess (of Malfi) (★★★★☆ Necessarily nightmarish), with Kirsty Stuart up for best female actor for her turn as the Duchess.

Solaris, David Greig’s adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s philosophical science fiction novel of 1961 (★★★★☆ Questioning intelligence), was nominated for Matthew Lutton’s direction and for Best Production. While it lost out on both those, it triumphed in the Best Technical Presentation category and took joint winner in Best Design.

Awarding joint winners was also a new move for the CATS. The other winner was Shona Reppe for her Catherine Wheels’ produced immersive show for children and young people, Atlantis Banal: Beneath the Surface, which was nominated in four categories.

Reppe also triumphed in best show for children and young people award, although she lost out in her nominations for best technical presentation and best new play.

Jade Ogugua, Polly Frame, Keegan Joyce & Fode Simbo in Solaris. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

In the five further nominations it is particularly pleasing to see Edinburgh-based storyteller Mara Menzies recognised for her Blood and Gold, nominated for best new play. Our reviewer unfortunately saw at an early, almost empty performance (★★★★☆ Entertainingly meaningful) but it is a hugely important piece of writing which deserves further recognition.

All four nominations for Best Show for Children and Young People were Edinburgh-based. Independent Arts Projects, Menzies’ Edinburgh-based producer, and Capital Theatres were involved with Ellie Griffiths’ Sound Symphony.

The Secret Garden (★★★★☆ Blooms with delights), produced by Red Bridge Arts, was also nominated as was This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing, from Imaginate and Stellar Quines. The final Edinburgh-related nod goes to James McArdle for his title performance in Peter Gynt, an EIF production with England’s National Theatre.

For full list of winners and nominees see The CATS 2020 in full.


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