Traverse wins big at CATS

Jun 9 2019 | By More

Theatre Awards announced in Glasgow

Edinburgh’s Traverse theatre has scooped three wins at the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland for David Ireland’s Ulster American, with a fourth for the A Play, A Pie and A Pint production of The Mack.

Lucianne McEvoy won the best female performance award for her role as Ruth in Ulster American, writer David Ireland took the best new play award while the play was judged overall Best Production. John Michie won best male performance award for his turn as Fireman in The Mack.

Robert Jack, Darrell D’Silva and Lucianne McEvoy in Ulster American. Pic Sid Scott

Other Edinburgh-based winners include Imaginate, which stepped out of the children’s theatre section to take the best design award for its production of Baba Yaga designed by Shona Reppe with Ailsa Paterson, Selene Cochrane and Chris Edser.

Queensferry-based Red Bridge Arts won the pest production for children and young people category for the second year running, for Stick by Me, created by Andy Manley and Ian Cameron.

There were two awards for Lost at Sea from Perth Theatre at Horsecross Arts and Morna Young, which won both the best ensemble award and best director award for Ian Brown, returning to Scotland to direct for the first time since leaving the Traverse.

My Left Right Foot – The Musical from Birds of Paradise and National Theatre of Scotland, directed by Robert Softley Gale, took best music and sound, and best technical presentation went to The End of Eddy from Untitled Projects and the Unicorn Theatre.

The 2019 CATS in full

Best Female Performance, sponsored by STV
Lucianne McEvoy (Ruth Davenport), Ulster American
Traverse Theatre Company
“Lucianne McEvoy’s character thinks she’s written a career-making play. Turns out that neither the director nor the star have understood it all. In a bravura performance she goes from smiley and accommodating to, frankly, terrifying, as the suppressed rage of dealing with idiot men making assumptions based on their own prejudices comes spilling out.”

Best Male Performance
John Michie (Fireman), The Mack
A Play, a Pie and a Pint
“John Michie played the role of the traumatised fire commander with a heart-wrenching dignity and subtlety. His performance conveyed with reverberative power the emotional reckoning of a stoical, west of Scotland man who, following the first fire at the Glasgow School of Art, is finally brought down by a career’s worth of trauma.”

John Michie, Winner of the Best Male Performance award in the 2019 CATS as The Fireman in The Mack (A Play, A Pie and A Pint). Pic: Leslie Black

Best Ensemble, sponsored by Equity
Lost at Sea
Perth Theatre at Horsecross Arts and Morna Young
“Morna Young’s Lost at Sea is a requiem to the fishermen of the North-East who perished in the waves. Almost operatic in construction, the voices of the ensemble, individually and a chorus, create an unforgettable portrait of the hardships and heartbreak faced by the fishing community.”

Best Director, sponsored by the Scottish Drama Training Network
Ian Brown, Lost at Sea
Perth Theatre at Horsecross Arts and Morna Young
“In his welcome return to Scotland, the former artistic director of Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre brought out the musicality, communality and sense of the mythic in Morna Young’s play about Moray-coast fishermen and their families. Spare and precise, Brown’s staging moved like the ebb and flow of the North Sea itself.”

Lost at Sea by Morna Young. L-R: Jennifer Black, Gerry Mulgrew, Helen McAlpine, Kim Gerard, Thoren Ferguson, Ali Craig, Andy Clark. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

Best Design
Shona Reppe (design concept), Ailsa Paterson (design realiser), Selene Cochrane (costume designer and maker) and Chris Edser (animator), Baba Yaga
Imaginate and Windmill Theatre Company
“Baba Yaga was a riot of brilliant and transgressive design. All realised by Ailsa Paterson, it saw Shona Reppe, the genius of flamboyant but miniaturist theatre scapes, scaling up her work to create a set that soared by magic lift up to the top floor where Chris Edser’s animations created the near-psychedelic background for the witch Baba Yaga’s layer. While Selene Cochrane’s costumes used everyday objects for bright and clever effect, to indicate quite clearly that she wasn’t a witch after all.”

Christine Johnston and Shona Reppe in Baba Yaga. Pic Matt Turner

Best Music and Sound
Claire McKenzie (music and lyrics), Scott Gilmour (music and lyrics) and Richard Thomas (additional songs), My Left Right Foot – The Musical
Birds of Paradise and National Theatre of Scotland
“The world of amateur theatre and the issues of equality in the arts are taken to task in this biting, riotous musical satire about a group of local players who decide to bring My Left Foot to the stage in order to fulfil an equalities agenda – except they don’t cast the only person in the company with cerebral palsy in the lead. Like an 18-certificate Glee, the songs are sweary and irreverent, but ultimately life-affirming on their own terms.”

Best Technical Presentation, sponsored by BECTU
The End of Eddy
Untitled Projects and the Unicorn Theatre
“This moving production didn’t merely rely on its technical execution but revelled in it. From its inventive use of screens to its embrace of social media, The End of Eddy was a technical marvel.”

The End of Eddy Unicorn Theatre and Untitled Projects for the EIF. Kwaku Mill and Alex Austin. Pic: Ryan Buchanan

Kwaku Mill and Alex Austin. Pic: Ryan Buchanan

Best Production for Children and Young People, sponsored by Young Scot
Stick by Me
By Andy Manley and Ian Cameron, produced by Red Bridge Arts
“Imaginary friends can come in all shapes and sizes – for Andy Manley’s isolated loner, the chum he finds is an ice lolly stick. The whimsical make-believe in Stick by Me is aimed at 3–6 year olds but this wonderfully wise and big-hearted show reminds us all how much we need other people.”

Best New Play
David Ireland, Ulster American
Traverse Theatre Company
“David Ireland’s play is a fearless and potty-mouthed study of a world where cultural identity has been reduced to a shouting match between genders, religions and races. Far from being wilfully controversialist, however, Ireland’s satire is a turbo-charged and pitch perfect satire of life in a liberal bubble, in which saying the unsayable becomes an increasingly dangerous weapon.”

Best Production
Ulster American
Traverse Theatre Company
“We live in an age of old and unprintable hatreds that suddenly spring back to life; and if there is a playwright born for that moment, it’s David Ireland, with his brave and breathtaking gift for creating characters who brilliantly and hilariously expose the forbidden prejudices that often lurk beneath the liberal platitudes of 21st century life. In Ulster American – which exploded onto the Traverse stage last August with the force of bad-tempered hurricane – the heroine, Ruth, is one of those characters; a Brexit-voting, Ulster Protestant playwright who won’t tolerate either the closet sexism of her English director and the big male Hollywood star he wants to cast in her play, or their complete misunderstanding of her political and cultural identity. Among these three characters, Ireland whips up a tragi-comic storm of razor-sharp, taboo-busting dialogue that spirals shockingly towards violence; and Gareth Nicholls’s superb, fast-moving Traverse production combined with three terrific performances from Lucianne McEvoy, Robert Jack and Darrell D’Silva to create one of the huge smash hits of last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, and a show that has since gone on to win international acclaim.”


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