2008 Winners

The sixth annual CATS, for the year 2007-08, were announced at 6pm on Sunday June 15 in a ceremony at Oran Mor, Glasgow, with special guests Johnny Beattie and Maureen Beattie. Shortlists are here.
The awards were presented in association with the West End Festival, Oran Mor, Glasgow, Scotland with Style and the List.

Guest presenters Johnny and Maureen Beattie

Best Male Performance

Keith Fleming and Gerry Mulgrew as Peer Gynt in Peer Gynt, Dundee Rep/NTS

“Two brilliant actors for the price of one, Fleming and Mulgrew were an astounding combination as the young and old Peer Gynt making light and joyful work of Ibsen’s demanding play. Fleming played the unkempt, rough-shaven and shameless reprobate with tremendous energy, replaced as the show went on by Mulgrew as his mellower, mature self. Either one of them would have merited an award on his own. In combination they were irresistible

Best Female Performance

Amy Manson as The Stepdaughter in Six Characters in Search of an Author, Royal Lyceum Theatre/The Citizens Theatre/National Theatre of Scotland (NTS)

“Amy Manson played the role of the step-daughter with a power, nuance and emotional range which emphasised her character’s central place in Pirandello’s play. Her performance achieved the difficult balance between reflecting her character’s anger and pain at her life experiences and her frustration at being a mere ‘character’. She shone in the midst of a fine ensemble.”

Best Ensemble

The Wall, Borderline Theatre

“What was so astonishing about the cast was the confidence with which such a young group of actors handled material that required vigorous discipline in its comic delivery. The sense of playful engagement with the text was tempered by this admirable professionalism, in which each actor presented perfect solos before rejoining the ensemble in perfect harmony.”

Best Director

Dominic Hill for Peer Gynt, Dundee Rep/NTS

“Peer Gynt is famously “the unstageable play”, with reindeer hunts along mountain ridges, shipwrecks, mountain trolls, and a host of other challenges. Dominic Hill showed that far from being unstageable, if you trusted Ibsen’s own theatrical instincts and thought hard enough about it, it was there for the taking. Directors sometimes attempt to wrestle classic texts to the floor. Here Dominic worked with Ibsen to find a way through the difficulties and produce one of the most dazzling pieces of inspired and consistent theatrical invention.”

Best Design

Naomi Wilkinson for Peer Gynt, Dundee Rep/NTS

“Naomi Wilkinson’s all consuming vision for the design of Peer Gynt created an appropriately massive area for a hugely inventive production. She was perfectly in tune with the re-interpretation of the piece, stripping back the stage to create a vast arena which extended in all directions, memorably upwards to create an unforgettable vision of Peer himself, perched high above the earth on a stairway into the gods.”

Best Music and Sound

Alasdair Macrae for Subway, Vanishing Point

“Stumbling on a crazy bar band abroad probably isn’t a unique experience for curious cultural tourists these days. Incorporating them into one of the theatrical highlights of the year, as Vanishing Point did in Subway, however, is another matter. Under the musical direction of Alasdair Macrae, the seven piece band – Etno Classic – provided much more than a soundtrack. Instead, the Kosovan whirligig of keening laments, giddy Klezma and manic chases itself became a character in a dystopian study of some future Leith, brilliantly performed by Sandy Grierson and Rosalind Sydney. The result was evocative, infectious and one of the most creative uses of live music in theatre for years.”

Best Technical Presentation

Angels In America, Citizens Theatre/ Headlong/ Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith

“Producing a two-part, seven-and-a-half-hour drama demands a technical team with plenty of stamina, but the epic Angels in America poses some unique challenges. Daniel Kramer’s production for Citizens Theatre Company, Headlong Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith involved countless seamlessly executed scene changes, not to mention dramatic entrances by celestial beings among many spine-tingling moments. That this perfectly-paced production unfolded so smoothly is testament to the tremendous skill and hard work of those behind the scenes.”

Best Production for Children and Young People

The Emperor’s New Kilt, Wee Stories/NTS

“Wee Stories stepped out onto the big stage, with a little help from the National Theatre of Scotland, in a brilliantly realised retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy story. This was just a wonder to watch as the company drew their audience in, delivering them to a place where anything could happen. The joy of the production was the way that it transformed the intimate art of storytelling onto the big stage.. A stunning piece of theatre on any level.”

Best New Play

Carthage Must Be Destroyed, Alan Wilkins, Traverse Theatre

“A mature, meaty, engrossing drama about power, politics and decadence, Alan Wilkins Carthage Must Be Destroyed was a gripping indictment of the corruptions of Empire. Focusing on the waging of a phony war for political and financial gain all too relevant in today’s climate, its vipers nest of spin doctors, pragmatic politcos and on-message opportunists, on the make and on the take, could easily be imagined skulking in the corridors of power from Whitehall to Capitol Hill. As such it provided a timely and surefooted lesson in how historical drama can be used to hold a mirror up to our own troubled times

Best Production

Peer Gynt, Dundee Rep/NTS

“From the moment when I was crossing the street towards the theatre, that night in Dundee, and saw a huge party limousine full of wild, karaoke-singing wedding-guests pulling up outside the Rep, I knew that this was going to be one of those rare productions that transforms a revered classic into a real play for today, while remaining absolutely true to the spirit of the original. The production also stands as a tremendous reminder of what an ensemble company of actors can achieve, when they have been working together for long enough to establish huge levels of trust with each other and with the audience – tremendous heights of imagination and daring, inspiration and brilliance!”