At the London Coliseum yesterday, Award winner Caroline O'Connor took a break from rehearsals for her new show, the English National Opera production of On the Town, to accept her Best Solo Performance prize for Bombshells.

Joanna Murray-Smith wrote the series of monologues, portraying characters of multiple nationalities and ages from 15 to 64, especially for O’Connor, who had a hit with it in her native Australia and at the Edinburgh Festival before bringing it to the West End’s Arts Theatre last autumn.

Commenting on her Theatregoers’ Choice Award win, O’Connor said: "Oh my goodness! Thank you so much to all the people who voted for me and to all the theatregoers who supported Bombshells. I am thrilled to receive this very special award from Thanks must also go to my husband who instigated the play at the Edinburgh Festival. To Mr Peter Wilson who subsequently transferred it immediately to London. To Joanna Murray-Smith for writing such a versatile and challenging script for me! To Simon Phillips, my director who worked me harder than anyone ever has! But especially to London theatregoers for embracing the piece and accepting new work.”

Later this year, O’Connor will take Bombshells, for which she was also nominated for an Olivier, to the Toronto Fringe Festival before returning to Sydney to play Judy Garland in the Australian premiere of Peter Quilter’s End of the Rainbow.

In the meantime, On the Town, directed by Jude Kelly, starts at the Coliseum on 5 March and runs, for 17 performances only, in the ENO repertory until 24 May 2005 (See News, 19 Nov 2004). O’Connor stars along with Adam Garcia, Tim Howar, Helen Anker, Alison Jiear, Sylvia Sims and others in a 55-strong cast which also features operatic support from the likes of Willard H White.

- by Terri Paddock

To view the full list of 2005 Theatregoers’ Choice Award winners & nominees as well as further acceptance remarks & voting percentages, click here.

O’Connor with editor Terri Paddock