The Queen-Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You has defied critics once again, by dominating the musical categories in the popularity poll. Boasting some 50% of the musical votes, the show won each of the five categories in which it was nominated: Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Tony Vincent), Best Actress in a Musical (Hannah Jane Fox) and Best Supporting Performance in a Musical (Sharon D Clarke) as well as Best Director for Christopher Renshaw (nominated jointly for Boy George musical Taboo).
Commenting on the show's multiple wins, Queen's Roger Taylor said: "At last - real awards voted for by real people! This represents an overwhelming vindication of our wonderful cast in a new kind of 'musical', and puts a fascinating spotlight on the seemingly total irrelevance of the traditional theatrical awards, decided upon by a dubious inner circle of increasingly detached 'luvvies'. We are thrilled!"
Queen's Brian May agreed, adding: "We have seen our team go from strength to strength in the Dominion. The show has regularly been No.1 box office for months now - but seldom has due credit been given to our wonderful cast and team in the media."
Another performance that won over the public if not the press was that of Gillian Anderson, who has won the Best Actress award for her West End debut in What the Night Is For. Anderson's avid fans propelled her into the top spot ahead of stiff competition from fellow screen stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Samantha Bond not to mention Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, nominated as a pair.
Meanwhile, though not singled out for her acting, theatregoers felt strongly that Madonna's sell-out debut in Up for Grabs qualified as the Planet Hollywood Theatre Event of the Year. The occasion narrowly won out over the Dames appearing together The Breath Of Life, though David Hare's drama did take the honour for Best New Play.
The current West End hit, This Is Our Youth, won two awards for Best New Comedy and London Newcomer of the Year for one of its original Hollywood young guns, Jake Gyllenhaal. And the National Theatre proved it's unrivalled in revivals, winning both Best Play Revival (for A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Glenn Close) and Best Musical Revival (for South Pacific), for two productions directed by outgoing artistic director Trevor Nunn.
In other big categories, the Royal Shakespeare Company's Samuel West (Hamlet) narrowly saw off another Hollywood threat from Woody Harrelson (On an Average Day) for Best Actor, while Sean Bean's Macbeth just snatched Best Shakespearean Production from Hamlet's clutches, and Pete Postlethwaite (Scaramouche Jones) triumphed in the most hotly contested field, Best Solo Performance, finishing with only a handful of votes more than Elaine Stritch (Elaine Stritch at Liberty) and Philip Quast (Divas at the Donmar).