Spotlight On: Best Actor in a Play award

Following on from the Best Actress in a Play ‘Spotlight On’, we take a look at their male counterpart nominees.

Voting for the 2014 WhatsOnStage Awards closes in three weeks and, as we get closer to the deadline, the standings for Best Actor in a Play are closer than ever before.

So who will be joining previous winners including Rupert Everett, James Corden and David Suchet? We take a closer look at this years nominees.

Who will you vote for? Head over to the voting page to have your say.

1. Ben Whishaw – Peter & Alice and Mojo

Ben Whishaw as Baby in Mojo
Ben Whishaw as Baby in Mojo

After landing the role of Q in the latest Bond movie and replacing Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury in the upcoming biopic of the Queen frontman, you could forgive Mr Whishaw for not having the time to commit to stage projects.

However, thankfully, that has not been the case and this year Ben is nominated for Best Actor in not one, but two plays.

Firstly, as part of the Michael Grandage Season, he was reunited with his 007 boss Judi Dench in John Logan's new play Peter and Alice which received good reviews all round.

He followed this immediately by joining the all-star cast for the revival of Jez Butterworth's Mojo, his performance as Baby alongside fellow award nominees Rupert Grint and Daniel Mays led Timeout to exclaim: "The night belongs to Ben Whishaw…his feline progress from reckless joker to gangster is completely riveting."

Is Ben your Baby? Vote for him here today!

2. Daniel Radcliffe – The Cripple of Inishmaan

Daniel Radcliffe as Billy in The Cripple of Inishmaan
Daniel Radcliffe as Billy in The Cripple of Inishmaan
© Johan Persson

Another big screen favourite on our shortlist is Radcliffe, who continued his trend of playing characters as far removed from the spectacled wizard as possible when he joined the cast of The Cripple of Inishmaan, also part of the Michael Grandage Season (which is nominated for Theatre Event of the Year).

The actor's 'stupendous' performance as Cripple Billy was described by The Telegraph as "one which will define him. It officially marks his metamorphosis from film star into proper, grown-up stage actor."

If you found Radcliffe's performance spellbinding, you can cast your vote here.

3. James McAvoy – Macbeth

James McAvoy in the title role in Macbeth
James McAvoy in the title role in Macbeth

The Trafalgar Transformed season, directed by WhatsOnStage award nominee Jamie Lloyd, included stunning performances from Simon Russell Beale and John Simm in Pinter's The Hothouse, Mathew Horne and best actress nominee Hayley Atwell in The Pride and McAvoy in a greatly received adaptation of Macbeth.

The no-holds-barred performance set in a futuristic Scottish dystopia, which McAvoy said was “like being mentally ill and being beaten up a lot”, received high praise with GQ magazine saying: "The acting is terrific, particularly James McAvoy who is in full command of his role and delivers his lines with an acute sense of what they mean"

If you think he should take the damned (top) spot, head over to the voting page today and have your say.

4. Lenny Henry – Fences

Lenny Henry as Troy in Fences
Lenny Henry as Troy in Fences
© Nobby Clark

Adding to his 2009 appearance in the title role of Northern Broadsides production of Othello and 2011 debut with the National Theatre in Comedy of Errors, Henry joined the cast for the UK tour and subsequent West End transfer of August Wilson’s Fences alongside fellow WhatsOnStage nominee Tanya Moodie.

His performance received outstanding reviews including The Independent saying: "Henry’s towering performance further proves his status as a serious actor."

If you think Henry is more than just comic relief, vote for him today!

5. Rory Kinnear – Othello

Rory Kinnear as Iago in Othello.
Rory Kinnear as Iago in Othello.
© Johan Persson

Having already shared an Evening Standard award with co-star Adrian Lester for their performances in the Nick Hytner directed production, Kinnear appears independently on our shortlist.

The Guardian said "Rory Kinnear gives a stunning study of a sociopath… his Iago burns with a contempt for the human race and for the beauty in other men’s lives."

Is Kinnear's Iago your top pick for best actor? Cast your vote here.

Who will get your vote? Voting is open until January 31st, make sure you don't miss out on your chance to have your say on the only major theatre awards voted for by the public.