Last year I had a fifth row ticket for the What’s On Stage awards at the Prince of Wales Theatre and it was all about Liam and Ramin. This year I was only one row from the back of the stalls, but it was more about being there than any particular star or performer. Unfortunately, I could only see the bottom two nominees for each award since the screen on the stage was a little too high, but other than that, it was actually a rather good seat. It meant that al the various actors and co. were seated in front of me and it made it even easier to star gaze.
For example, Brian May was sat five rows in front of me! I also spotted Alex Gaumond twice and then realised he was sat next to Brian May anyway aaaand Kerry Ellis was there too. Half the cast of Ghost were two rows in front; Andrew Langtree (who plays Carl), who was then joined by Mark Evans *thud* and then Richard Fleeshman who I’d assumed was in NY so that was pretty epic (turns out he flew back to collect his award, so wow, go him!). Anyhoo, Nigel Harman was a few rows in front too, as was James Corden and I spotted Tim Minchin a couple of times, though I wasn’t sure it was him until he went on stage to collect an award! Shayne Ward and Bill Kenwright were definitely in the bar during the interval and then I saw Shayne again in the auditorium again, four rows in front. I’m also pretty sure I saw Patrick Smyth in bar before the show started, but I was far too shy to speak to him no matter how frickin’ lovely he always is. He was talking to people though and it seemed rude (which is my excuse and I’m sticking to it). Michael Ball was another exciting spot, even though I’d already seen him on stage by that point.
I saw Patrick Smyth again when I was leaving, though, and that time I did say hello, how’re you (woot, go me!). I also nearly tripped over Sharon D Clarke’s dress on the way down the stairs and Richard Fleeshman (who really is rather gorgeous) was right behind me. Aaaaand I saw Hannah Waddingham and nearly bumped into Tamsin Grieg. Overall, a top night, even though I missed seeing all my favourite leading men.
I was still completely in my element and I was almost glad I was there on my own as I’m not sure anyone else would have really understood. That said, it would be nice to have a friend who was just as obsessed and overawed as me (yet can appreciate the need for selfishness when booking tickets ). Anyhoo, the stupid thing is, I’ve met half if not most of these people before, yet I was still ridiculously excited. Admittedly the reason I come to these awards is because I love theatre, so it sort of follows that I’d get excited at seeing so many of its stars all at once, but still!
And so to the evening itself; I knew about Kerry Ellis and the names of a few of the performing shows in advance, but I was delighted to find that Dean Chisnall was singing a song from Shrek. I absolutely adored his performance of Who I’d Be and I must have beamed the whole way through it. I’m now even more determined to see the show again once he takes over in the leading role (if only to erase the memory of the Parisian production ). The other big performance highlight was Hannah Waddingham singing Red Shoe Blues. She’s absolutely phenomenal and really deserved her win. The grand finale with Kerry Ellis singing her rocked up version of Defying Gravity, supported by Brian May was, erm, LOUD!!! It was also epically awesome (and I even spotted Shayne Ward taking a photo on his phone ) and a fabulous end to the night. She has an absolutely breathtaking voice and he’s Brian May!
The best acceptance speech award should have gone to Richard Bean who cracked me up completely, with the runner up prize for Amanda Holden and supporting actor Simon Cowell (unfortunately, since they were on the screen, I couldn’t actually see the acceptance, but from what I heard, it was hilarious! A special mention goes to Alfie Boe just because he’s Alfie frickin’ Boe and also because his semi-double act with Matt Lucas (who made a cameo as a phone call) always makes me laugh. Along the same lines, War Horse won the best West End show award and they brought one of the horses on during their acceptance speech. As someone who STILL hasn’t seen that show, it was rather breathtaking.
The presenters were brilliant too, even more so than I’d expected. I knew Sheridan Smith would be fabulous and I absolutely adore her anyway, but she had a brilliant rapport with Alan Davies too and I have to admit he was a lot funnier than I’d expected (even though I was watching QI on Dave last night and laughing plenty, so I probably should have expected great entertainment value), though perhaps a little ruder than necessary!
Anyhoo it was a fun night and I’ll definitely be heading back next year! I’m also now very much looking forward to the Oliviers (which I believe are being broadcasted on a public screen in Covent Garden) and, of course, I’m now wondering how to fit in more shows. I’m also now considering trying to make it to Chichester, which I’m pretty sure is a ridiculous idea, since anything really good will make it to the West End anyway, but I just keep hearing such wonderful things about it…! Still, at least I’ve got Edinburgh to look forward to in the summer. Woot!
Anyways, Noises Off is next up (woot, can’t wait!) followed by Don Giovanni at the ROH (it seems like such a short list now I’m cutting down to two shows a week ), so I’ll be back soon. In the meantime (keeeep dancing! – oops, wrong show) I’ll try and get some more of the backlog filled in. I now have a goal to try and get The America Trip blogs out before I reach the year marker and I’m fast running out of time. Perhaps I should change the deadline to ‘before The America Trip, The Sequel’, since at this rate that will give me until October to get sorted!
‘Til next time, however,
Peace, loVe loVe and happiness,
PS. I may have overdone the tagging on this post. Oops!
PPS. I know I don’t really talk about my beloved Steel Burkhardt that much anymore (though he is a massive part of the reason I’m still holding off on booking The America Trip, The Sequel), but trust me when I say he still holds a very special place in the theatre related section of my heart. I was therefore just a little bit heartbroken to discover on facebook that he has cut off all of those luscious long locks of his! I knew it was bound to happen eventually, but still . I adored his hair and I cannot describe how sorry I am to see it go *sob*.