2011 Winners

THE ninth annual CATS, for the year 2010–11, was announced at 3pm on Sunday June 12 in a ceremony at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. The guest presenter was Clare Grogan. Music was provided by the Jazz Bar Quartet and food was courtesy of Appetite Direct. Programmes were designed and printed by The List.

Guest presenter Clare Grogan. Photograph Tom Main

Best Male Performance

David Birrell, Sweeney Todd, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Dundee Rep Theatre

“PLAYED by David Birrell, Sweeney Todd was a figure of unruffled determination: cool, enigmatic and self-contained. Far from being a music-hall villain, he was a controlled obsessive, focused on revenge. He was all the more chilling because he took no pleasure in his victories. And, leading an impressive ensemble, he sang beautifully.”

Best Female Performance

Sponsored by STV

Mercy Ojelade, Mary, Roadkill, Ankur Productions/Pachamama Productions

“IT’S easy to fake things on stage, but every second of Mercy Ojelade’s performance as Mary, the young Nigerian girl trafficked in Roadkill, Ankur Arts and Pachamama’s harrowing site-specific piece, was utterly, heartbreakingly believable. The transformation from a wide-eyed innocent arriving in a strange land to a brutalised young woman forced to grow up too soon was at times painful to watch, but Ojelade’s fearless and unflinching performance was a captivating experience that audiences will never – and, in light of similar real life situations going on right now, must never – forget.”

Best Ensemble

Sponsored by Equity

The Three Musketeers and the Princess of Spain, Traverse Theatre Company/Belgrade Theatre, Coventry/English Touring Theatre

“IT is no exaggeration to describe this show as the most brilliant piece of Christmas theatre to have been staged in Scotland in a generation, and that is down, in very large part, to the immense talents, and the boisterous, comic energy, of the ensemble. One might have taken particular pleasure in Peter Forbes’s apparently pregnant Porthos or Cliff Burnett’s Aramis – who one still remembers as a ‘cross between Arsene Wenger and Peter Stringfellow’ – but the truth is that this extraordinary production had kids and adults in raptures because every actor in Dominic Hill’s superb ensemble was so wonderfully in tune with both Chris Hannan’s fantastic script and the actors around them.”

Best Director

Muriel Romanes, Age of Arousal, Stellar Quines Theatre Company/Royal Lyceum Theatre Company

“THE diversity of approaches taken by this year’s nominees represents the imagination and dynamism of Scottish theatre, from re-imagining of a classic through to a site-specific examination of a very contemporary problem. Yet our winner, Muriel Romanes, for Age of Arousal by Stellar Quines Theatre Company and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, demonstrated how the historical can shed light on the modern, and that political seriousness need not mean humourlessness.”

Best Design

Shona Reppe (set and costumes) and Craig Fleming (lighting), White, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

“GREAT theatre design does not just illuminate its text, it adds to it. Shona Reppe’s design and costumes for Catherine Wheel’s White went one step further again. She created a white world of such invention that it could have existed on its own. But then you would have missed each intricate new detail as the show developed, the discoveries in each birdbox, the hilarity of using a toilet pedestal mat as an apron. Lighting white can be hell and Craig Flemming’s simple design ensured that the lighting waxed and waned with the passing of the day, Reppe’s birdhouses lit up from the inside and a mirror-ball moon threw slivers of reflected light across the scene.”

Best Music and Sound

Hilary Brooks, Sweeney Todd, Dundee Rep Theatre

Alasdair Macrae, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, National Theatre of Scotland

“WE often end up comparing apples and pears but in the case of the music and sound category this year it was more extreme than ever. How do you separate the challenge that Hilary Brooks had at Dundee, faced with one of the most demanding scores in all musical theatre, to the challenge of writing new music, and combining that with much loved existing music to make something as wittily brilliant and contextually clever as Alsadair Macrae managed for Prudencia Hart. In the end, they were both tremendous achievements and we have decided that the Best Music And Sound category this year should be shared between Hilary Brooks and Ally Macrae.”

Best Technical Presentation

Sponsored by Northern Light

White, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

“WHITE’S technical artistry was not only a marvel to watch but was integral to the overall success of the production. From its  sleight-of-hand tricks to its moving conclusion of seamlessly turning a white set into a massive celebration of colour, White’s technical  execution not only proved that small effects can have a large impact but  that excellence in technical presentation is as important to the success  of a production as any other component.”

Best Production for Children and Young People

White, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

“GOOD theatre is good theatre – whatever age group it’s intended for. White captivated pre-school tots with its ravishing transformation of an all-white world into a rainbow landscape. And if adults read the arrival of colour as a profound reflection on social values – well they too were totally smitten by the magical beauty of this show. How did they do it? It still remains a mystery – but it’s a winner.”

Best New Play

Sponsored by W&P Longreach – Theatre Insurance Brokers

Chris Hannan, The Three Musketeers and the Princess of Spain, Traverse Theatre Company/Belgrade Theatre, Coventry/English Touring Theatre

“CHRIS Hannan’s version of the famous Alexandre Dumas adventure stories was anarchic, witty, intelligent, rude, irreligious and coarse. It had all the swashbuckling sword fights and knockabout humour you could wish for, but it also told a story of self-discovery that was deeply moving. It was a script that was genuinely for all the family.”

Best Production

Roadkill, Ankur Productions/Pachamama Productions

“IN the end, despite a terrific shortlist, there was no doubt about the outstanding choice as Best Production of 2010–2011. Roadkill, created by Cora Bissett and written by Stef Smith for Ankur Production and Pachamama, is a show that achieves the highest artistic standards in every area, from writing, acting and directing to design, sound and technical co-ordination.  Even more importantly, though, it draws that artistic energy from the company’s passion for its subject, and from their shared determination to make us aware of the scandal and tragedy of people-trafficking in our time – not as some distant problem in faraway places, but as something that is happening now, in the very fabric of our own cities, and perhaps even in the flat next door.”

The CATS judging panel for 2011 was made up of: Mary Brennan (The Herald), Mark Brown (The Sunday Herald and the Daily Telegraph), Neil Cooper (The Herald), Michael Cox (onstagescotland.co.uk), Robert Dawson Scott (The Times), Thom Dibdin (Edinburgh Evening News and The Stage), Mark Fisher (The Guardian), Joyce McMillan (The Scotsman), Gareth K Vile (The Skinny) and Joy Watters (The Courier).