Off West End Theatre awards arrive at last! But did they have to call them the Offies?

Well, we said ‘go to the source’ and it’s been commented before that the Laurence Olivier Awards are often given to productions that originated outside the West End, so it’s great to see a new set of awards to recognise smaller theatres.  We took a trip down memory lane to share with you our five most memorable off-West End moments:

  • Shared Experience’s ‘Mill on the Floss’ at the Tricycle.  The start of the beautiful relationship with this stunning theatre group, and with the Tricycle itself.  We can honestly say that this theatre rarely disappoints and never plays safe.  Shared experience are back in April with their staging of ‘Bronte’.
  • Steppenwolf’s ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ at the Barbican Theatre, proving that it is possible to erase the memory of Jack Nicholson’s performance in the film.  A truly ensemble production with Gary Sinise blending in without fuss.
  • Michael Pennington’s one-man show ‘Anton Chekhov’ at the Hampstead Theatre.  Shows like this make it all worthwhile.  Pennington is an actor who has devoted himself to theatre for most of his career and it shows.
  • ‘Take Flight’ at the Menier Chocolate Factory.  Our first experience of this theatre and of Sally Ann Triplett, playing Amelia Earhart in Maltby and Shire’s interwoven flight-themed musical.  Some were sceptical but we were charmed by the humour, drama and music (and by the cheap matinee offer – but we did make up for this by seeing it twice!)  We have since seen many of the cast in the West End although sadly the production itself didn’t transfer.
  • ‘Duet for One’ at the Almeida Theatre.  Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman had the daunting task of holding our attention in a two-hander about death and disablement.  This was a perfect example of truly great actors bringing a modern classic to a new audience (us!)
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