Cabaret dominates Critics' Circle Awards

Published: 9 April 2022
Reporter: David Chadderton

Eddie Redmayne as Emcee and Jessie Buckley as Sally Bowles in Cabaret Credit: Marc Brenner
Spring Awakening at the Almeida Credit: Marc Brenner
Cush Jumbo as Hamlet Credit: Helen Murray
David Harewood and Charles Edwards in Best of Enemies at the Young Vic Credit: Wasi Daniju
Ben Daniels as Ned Weeks and Dino Fetscher as Felix Turner in The Normal Heart at the National Theatre Credit: Helen Maybanks

A West End rival of the musical Cabaret took 3 of the 10 awards but was beaten to Best Musical by Spring Awakening.

Rebecca Frecknall took the Best Director award for the Kander and Ebb musical at the Playhouse Theatre, with Jessie Buckley named as Best Actress and Tom Scutt as Best Designer.

However, it was pipped to the Best Musical award by the Almeida revival of Spring Awakening, which also saw Stuart Thompson sharing the Most Promising Newcomer with Samuel Creasy from The Book of Dust, while best New Play went to James Graham's Best of Enemies at the Young Vic, which also hosted Cush Jumbo's Best Shakespearean Performance as Hamlet.

Best Actor went to Ben Daniels for his performance as Ned Weeks in the National Theatre revival of The Normal Heart, while Most Promising Playwright was shared by Zadie Smith for The Wife of Willesden at the Kiln and Igor Memic for Old Bridge at the Bush.

A one-off new award intended to celebrate those “who went above and beyond to keep theatre alive” during lockdown was shared by The National Theatre for its NT Live screenings and its filmed production of Romeo & Juliet, Jermyn Street Theatre for 15 Heroines, a series of filmed monologues, The Old Vic for its IN CAMERA season, the Original Theatre Company as "a pioneer in building new theatre streaming platforms" and Nimax CEO Nica Burns, who "pioneered new forms of socially distanced theatre in her venues around the world."

Full list of winners

Best New Play (The Michael Billington Award): Best of Enemies

Best Musical (The Peter Hepple Award): Spring Awakening

Best Actor: Ben Daniels (The Normal Heart)

Best Actress: Jessie Buckley (Cabaret)

Best Shakespearean Performance (The Trewin Award): Cush Jumbo (Hamlet)

Best Director: Rebecca Frecknall (Cabaret)

Best Designer: Tom Scutt (Cabaret)

Most Promising Playwright: Zadie Smith (The Wife of Willesden); Igor Memic (Old Bridge)

Most Promising Newcomer (The Jack Tinker Award): Stuart Thompson (Spring Awakening); Samuel Creasy (The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage)

Commendations for Exceptional Theatre Making During Lockdown: National Theatre; Jermyn Street Theatre; Original Theatre Company; Old Vic; Nica Burns

    Related listings

  • Cabaret - Book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb