Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Sweeney Todd sweeps the board

Michael Ball, star of Sweeney Todd, was named best actor in a musical at the Whatsonstage.com Awards
Michael Ball, star of Sweeney Todd, was named best actor in a musical at the Whatsonstage.com Awards

West End hit Sweeney Todd has topped the bill at a theatre awards show by carrying off five prizes.

The production was named best musical revival while its stars Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton were declared the best actor and actress in a musical at the Whatsonstage.com Awards.

Rupert Everett landed the prize for best actor in a play for his performance in The Judas Kiss. And Sheridan Smith - who has previously won two Olivier awards for her stage roles - took the title for best actress in a play in recognition of her portrayal of Hedda Gabler.

Chart star Will Young was also rewarded as newcomer of the year for his West End debut in the show Cabaret.

And Stephen Fry landed a prize for his return to the London stage, with his performance as Malvolio in Twelfth Night at the Globe Theatre, picking up the best supporting actor in a play prize. In 1995 he famously skipped the country after being stung by a bad review for his performance in the production Cell Mates.

He said of his win: "I am simply astonished. Seventeen years ago, I left this country in disgrace having run out of a play and I thought I might never return to the stage again. But thanks to the Globe, to Tim Carroll the director, the author William Shakespeare, and to the wonderful Sonia Friedman (producer), and most of all, to the audiences at the Globe and the Apollo, I have been back onstage in a wonderful play and had the privilege of playing with one of the best casts that has ever been assembled."

Sweeney Todd's other gongs at the ceremony - for which winners are chosen by theatregoers - were best director and best lighting.

Les Miserables, which has now become a major movie hit, was named best West End show, while Danny Boyle's Olympic opening ceremony was given the accolade of theatre event of the year.

Sunday night's ceremony at the Palace Theatre in London was hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Rufus Hound.

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