As the theatre world awaits the announcement of the CRITICS’ AWARDS FOR THEATRE IN SCOTLAND, theatre editor Steve Cramer runs through some of the nominations.
he beauty of annual awards.
from the point of view of
the critic. is the opportunity to reflect upon the range and quality of work produced by the Scottish theatre community. All the wet nights in liast Kilbride. the endless delays on privatised and therefore dangerous trains. and the lack of regular diet suddenly seem worthwhile as one reflects on the number of grand shows seen. After a day of passionate and sometimes arduous debate at the Bonham hotel in Edinburgh with ten other critics. it occurred to me as sad that so much quality work was eliminated. before final nominations. 3‘) of them spread across ten categories. could be made. And splendid work it all was.
The obvious winner. in terms of nominations. was Dundee Rep. Ten across ten categories. including multiple nominations for best music and best design speaks for itself. It represents a mighty accolade for the new joint artistic directors Dominic Hill and James Brining as well as the ensemble team of actors and other creative staff. that this should all be achieved in the first season of a largely new team. The magnificent. challenging Scenes From an l:'.veeution alone rated seven nominations. and the Rep is to be congratulated on showing the theatre
community that such work as that of Howard Barker
needn‘t be thrown so readily into the bins marked "too hard" or “bad box office".
But what of the other companies‘.’ Given the scale of the company. who could begrudge (irid Iron three nominations‘.’ The magnificent and deeply moving Those Eyes. That Mont/I saw a performance of rare splendour from (‘ait Davis. an actress whose physical skills chime
Cait Davies, nominated for her performance in Those Eyes, That Mouth
‘GIVEN OF THE SCALE OF THE COMPANY, WHO
those of best director and best production. It's
gratifying to see this company achieve so highly. for it‘s been instrumental in bringing kids' theatre out of
its specialised ghetto and into wider notice.
I feel honoured to be asked to present the award in the category of best director. so perhaps I should talk specifically about this. Aside from Dominic Hill for Scenes From an [iteration and (‘a 11 non and Jolmstone. mentioned above. what of Mark Thomson for Six Black (‘unrlles at the Lyceum? We saw a rare
night of ensemble performance from a strong cast of
actors here. and credit must go to Thomson for doing what directors should do best. facilitating a space in which actors can explore their creativity in an
with dextrous use of language to perfection. So. too. a nomination that acknowledges the too often forgotten
COULD BEGRUDGE GRID IRON THREE NOMINATIONS?"
atmosphere of security and trust. llettie McDonald. too. created some splendid ensemble work at the
technical side of the theatre — best technical presentation — goes to the (irid lron team. This boasts such ligures as George Tarbuck. a man whose imagination and versatility was brilliantly demonstrated in a site— specilic show whose venue was only finalised days before the tip. David Paul Jones‘ challenging. at times surreal. but deeply touching music will also live long in the memory of anyone who saw this superb fringe show.
Three nominations as well for Andy Cannon and Iain Johnstone‘s Wee Stories. for Art/no: not only in the obvious category of childrens' theatre. but also in
64 THE LIST Q7 Mny~10 Jiiii 2(204
(‘itizens‘ with 'l'op (iir/s. as well as making a text that might have seemed dated in abstract fresh and relevant on the night.
But the list does not contain such actors as the awesome Jimmy (‘hisolnL as magnificent in several shows this year as in the past. and 'l‘am Dean Burn. superb in T/lt' Cutting Room at the (‘itizensK So too. Ben Harrison. whose direction for (irid Iron has been outstanding. and Julie Duncanson. brilliant in a generally grand cast in Six Bluek (‘und/es. (liven the omissions how can you expect less than quality from those on the short list‘.’
Re: Treading The Boards Scottish theatre mourns its second great loss of the last year after Russell Hunter‘s death. at the news of the passing of Robert David MacDonald. Along with Giles Havergal and Philip Prowse. MacDonald contributed to the rich and truly international programmes of the Citizens' theatre for over thirty years.
MacDonald's talents were many. Most noted as a director and translator of so much of the European classical work produced at the Citizens’. MacDonald gave the company the distinctive edginess and the metropolitan feel that made it such a distinctive presence in UK arts. Translation of such often unseen classic writers as Schiller and Mann. as well as more contemporary and controversial writers like Hochhuth. allowed the Citizens' to write their own ticket in the UK, as well as attracting much notice and praise internationally. Some of his more recent work at the Citz, such as his direction of Andrea Hart's adaptation of Henry Green's Nothing continued to attract praise, this latter being nominated for a CATS award for best new play in the upcoming awards.
But MacDonald's talents went further than directing and translating. He trained as a musician, and worked in this field with distinction. He also acted with real flare at both the Citizens' and elsewhere. appearing as Billy Rice in a production of John Osborne's The Entertainer in Derby only last year. My own dealings with him were always pleasant. and although I didn't know MacDonald well. the intelligence and urbanity of the man were very clear. as was the kind and modest nature so often attributed to him by those who knew him better. He’ll be sadly missed.