In addition to lists of top productions, Mates contributor Ian Foster reviews his reviews from the past year to award his personal prizes for the best performances for Best Actor and Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress in both plays and musicals…
Best Actress in a Play
Juliet Stevenson/Lia Williams, Mary Stuart
It couldn’t really be anyone else could it. Mary Stuart was my play of the year and the stellar combination of Stevenson and Williams was a huge part in that, a pair of extraordinary performances (or should that be a quartet…) that burst with life from the circular stage of the Almeida. I’ve seen it twice and I’m definitely thinking about going again.
Uzo Aduba/Zawe Ashton, The Maids
As murderous sisters Claire and Solange, I simply adored this pairing and am a little surprised they – and the production – haven’t received more love in the end-of-year lists and awards season. Fiercely uncompromising with every sweep of the broom, I couldn’t split them if I tried either.
- Gemma Arterton, Nell Gwynn
- Linda Bassett, Escaped Alone
- Helen McCrory, The Deep Blue Sea
- Maxine Peake, A Streetcar Named Desire
- Harriet Walter, The Tempest
- Kirsty Bushell/Ruth Wilson, Hedda Gabler/Hedda Gabler
- Lesley Manville, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
- Billie Piper, Yerma
Best Actress in a Musical
Jenna Russell, Grey Gardens
One of the first shows I saw in 2016 and from the moment Russell opened the second act with the hysterical ‘The Revolutionary Costume for Today’, I knew that this category was a lockdown. Her casting in as Michelle Fowler in Eastenders came as a surprise and I can’t help but be gutted that we’ve lost her to the world of television but hopefully it won’t be too long before she’s gracing our stages once more. STAUNCH!
Clare Burt, Flowers for Mrs Harris
Whereas the likes of Amber Riley gets notices for belting the house down, there’s an entirely different skill-set being masterfully used by the likes of Burt that is equally emotionally devastating. A performance full of gorgeous restraint and natural charm that hopefully we’ll get to see again.
- Samantha Barks, The Last Five Years
- Glenn Close, Sunset Boulevard
- Kaisa Hammarlund, Sweet Charity
- Cassidy Janson, Beautiful
- Landi Oshinowo, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road
- Beverley Knight, The Bodyguard
- Anoushka Lucas, Jesus Christ Superstar
- Scarlett Strallen, She Loves Me