Dee, Nunn, Spend Double Up at Critics AwardsDate: 10 February 2000
The winners of this year's Critics' Circle Awards were announced yesterday, reinforcing the decisions of the judges in November's Evening Standard Drama Awards in many key categories.
Two time winners include Janie Dee, Best Actress for her robotic performance in Alan Ayckbourn's Comic Potential at the Lyric; the Viv Nicholson-inspired morality tale Spend, Spend, Spend, Best Musical; National Theatre artistic director Trevor Nunn, Best Director for The Merchant of Venice and Summerfolk; and Eve Best, Best Newcomer for her performance of the incestuous sister, opposite Jude Law, in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore at the Young Vic.
Dee, Nunn and Spend, Spend, Spend have also been nominated in the same categories for the Laurence Olivier Awards, to be announced next Friday. Theatre pundits will now be watching carefully to see if they can pull off a grand sweep of London's main drama awards.
The Critics' Circle turned to the fringe to find a suitable winner - Mnemonic conceived by Simon McBurney at Riverside Theatre - in the Best New Play category. In November, the Standard judges caused waves when they withheld the award in that category, for the first time in their awards' 44-year history, because they felt none were up to scratch. Max Hastings, editor of the Evening Standard and chairman of its judges, said at the time, 'We felt it would diminish the award to give it to a new work that did not live up to the extraordinary achievements of the past.'
Other Critics' Circle winners included Henry Goodman, Best Actor for his performance in The Merchant of Venice at the National; and Julie Taymor and Richard Hudson, who jointly won the Best Designer Award for Disney's The Lion King at the Lyceum.
This is the eleventh year of the London Theatre Critics' Circle Awards. The awards cover all plays presented in London, both on the fringe and in the West End, during the 1999 calendar year. The Laurence Olivier Awards, announced next week, cover only West End theatres (as defined by the membership of the Society of London Theatre) and are decided by a panel of both critics and ordinary theatre-goers.