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The Goodmonkey Awards For 2014

January 21, 2015

I’ve done the show list, so I guess it’s medal time, Muttley. As ever, named in memory of Goodshow, the sadly deceased website, here’s “the awards that other awards dare not mention…”


Eye Mask and Swag bag, but no matching stripy top yet: to debut maker Patsy Ferran, for almost stealing “Blithe Spirit” from her fellow, far more experienced cast-mates. Had they not kept their feet very firmly on the set, Ferran would have been half way to Piccadilly Circus with the show before they’d even noticed. Had she succeeded, the striped top would have been hers, of course. Concurrently, Golden Ouija Boards to the entire cast, for truly exception ensemble playing and a wonderful performance.



Bob The Builder’s Hard Hat to: The kindly drill-wielding  front-of-house person at the Theatre Royal, Straford East, who twice valiantly attempted to repair the broken seat I was allocated. Concurrently, a tub of “Vanish” to the Old Vic’s front of house staff, to clean the seats after a school party visit and before us adults need to use them…



The Lee Harvey Oswald Library Card, for best assassination attempt to: Sinéad Matthews in “Blurred Lines” at the National Theatre. Kicking off a stiletto shoe at great speed from a good height seems the perfect, undetectable, way to despatch that annoying punter in row A… a tiny bit more force, and a legend may have been born…


Christiaan Barnard’s surgical gowns to: the cast of “My Night With Reg” at the Donmar Warehouse. For successfully tearing the audience’s hearts out without them even noticing in the space of a mere two hours. Concurrently, “I’d Like to Buy the World A Coke” song on permanent loop backstage:  for gratuitously wasting half a bottle per performance of the precious liquid.



The Mary Whitehouse Blue Pencil to: an elderly lady two rows ahead of me at “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. As the very beautiful ladies of the show’s chorus went into the “French Maid” dance routine, we all heard the very audible “oof” as her husband leaned forward to admire the view… and received a corrective elbow in the ribs. Concurrently, the Vogue Magazine Front Cover to said ladies of the cast of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and the show’s casting director, for services to pulchritude.



A Bowl of Duck Soup, for Marx Brothers Front of House service to the Ambassadors Theatre. On a visit in July 2014 I recorded:  the staff sadistically not letting an elderly woman 10 steps past a staircase foyer rope to use the toilet, as “the house is closed – so go 200 yards down the road to the local pub, and good luck with that.” Once past the rope, an underworked usher gets concurrently a “King of the Swingers” CD for entertaining us all by swinging around on the stalls door frame while waiting for customers. That same usher then blamed the customers he did let in for taking seats that weren’t theirs. Turned out it was his fault for not reading tickets properly and letting circle customers take the equivalent stalls seats. To cap it, he noisily moved customers forward from the rear stalls – just as the play had started… luckily he was too busy to see the look he got from the stage for his efforts.



The Diana Morales Headband to Joanna O’Hare, for effortlessly becoming a bedside table, sports-hall coat hanger and well, clothes line, rather than ice-cream cone; as required during “The Beautiful Game” at the Union Theatre, London.



A Night in a Haunted House, for badly spooking me to: Chloe Lamford and Ruth Stringer, designers at “God Bless The Child.” That primary school corridor leading to the classroom, and the classroom set itself were sufficient to cause serious flashbacks.



Tim Rice’s Biro to: Harry Hill for the lyric “When I sing all the windows crack, I thought a quaver was a cheesy snack” in the libretto of “I Can’t Sing.” Amused me very much. Also, they can’t say now that the show hasn’t won at least ONE award…



A Star on the Fridge’s Chart: to Ms Isabella Pappas for a stunning performance from a very young person in the complex role of Iris at “The Nether.”



Max Bygraves High Stool and Mic, for most compelling musical solo to Neil Stewart as Phil Cavilleri in “Love Story” (Union Theatre). For his effective simplicity holding an audience in one compelling song sung from a centre stage bench.



Tryout for the Comedy Store Players to: Karl Davies for a superb “in character” ad-lib as the set fell to pieces during “Hobson’s Choice” at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park. Saved the entire evening for all.



A giant trumpet of joy to: Designer Samuel Wyer and directors Finn Cauldwell and Toby Olie for “The Elephantom.” Intended for younger children… it’s the adults who admired it most. Wonderful, and a summer 2015 revival, with “adults only” performances, please?



And finally…

An I-Spy Book, with all the pages already filled in so it’s no fun:  to the first member of an audience I was part of, to ever spot “theatremonkey” as I was doing some “pre-show” sightline checks before a performance… and stupidly deduce it was something worth telling ushering staff about, causing us all unnecessary hassle and embarrassment. The place was empty, they knew I was “in” – and importantly, not disturbing anyone. Paranoia is, fortunately, treatable, though.


So, to sum up the year, I think it was “The Year of the Experiment.” More so than previous years, I’ve found myself looking very much forward to some productions, all sounding more promising than in previous years. A play written as a big trial concludes? The National Theatre as a nightclub for a biographical musical? Internet Pedophilia addressed on a mainstream stage? The ladies of Dagenham rightly celebrated on the Strand? All here. Some were great, others disappointing, many that I’d agreed to attend “to just see,” turned out to be stunning. My reactions may have been “out of tune” with the professionals – I rated “Bakersfield Mist” far higher than most, “Porgy and Bess” far lower – but it mixed things up wonderfully.

Looking to 2015, there’s “Gypsy” and the Cumberbatch “Hamlet,” and no doubt many more productions that may just be in contention for a “Goodmonkey” next year. Until then, I guess that concludes the annual ceremony. Thanks to all who contested the categories, and I assure the winners that –as ever – their prizes are not “in the post.”

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