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The GoodMonkey Awards 2015

January 20, 2016

Back from the break, and as ever at this time of the year, it’s “The Goodmonkey Awards.” A chance to reward and recognise everything that absolutely no other London Theatre Awards ceremony is prepared to touch with a bargepole. So, here we go:


Theatremonkey Gold Medal. To Mark Rylance. During the performance of “Farinelli and the King” attended, Mr Rylance noticed a disturbance in the audience seats located in a gallery at the back of the stage. He stopped his performance, (without breaking character) to make sure that a lady who had fainted was all right, only continuing when he was certain that she was being properly looked after.


Theatremonkey Silver Medal. To Raphael Sowole. At the performance of “Measure For Measure,” his colleague Ivanno Jeremiah was taken ill moments before the show. Mr Sowole (usually Master Froth) stepped in to take the role of Claudio as well as his own. Script in hand, by his final major scene Mr Sowole managed almost a fully acted performance, saving the show for both cast and audience alike.


Velvet Defibrillator Pads (to match the theatre seats): to Tom Gibbons for raking up the tension to near heart-failure inducing levels with his sound design for “A View From The Bridge” at Wyndhams Theatre.


A Catcher’s Mitt, for all the awards thrown at him: to Michael Urie for a fabulously funny solo performance in “Buyer & Cellar” at the Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre.


The Ed Milli Band, for the inexplicable: to “Game” at the Almeida Theatre. The strangest evening I’ve ever had in Islington. And, considering I was at University around there, that’s saying something…


Crystal Ball with a big tick on it: to the Society of London Theatre. I said back in August 2014 that “Miss Pappas must take the acting honours for a debut which is of Olivier standard even at her very young age” for her performance in “The Nether.” Sure enough, her and her three co-stars in the role were nominated. Quite right too.


Crash helmets to: Those braving row A at Wyndhams Theatre for “American Buffalo” in April 2015. A chair smashed from ceiling to ground, and debris heading rapidly towards them all… kudos to all those willing to stay put.


An Airbag for the back of her uniform: to the young lady usher whose “flip down usher seat” collapsed on her during “Man + Superman” at the Lyttleton Theatre.


The Trunchbull hammer: to the bratty girl at “High Society” who was demanding explanations throughout act 1, and finally silenced her parents by asking loudly, “what’s footsie?”


The Brand / Ross Answerphone message (for sick jokes played on elderly people): to whoever booked “Gypsy” into the Savoy Theatre. The audience when the monkey saw it were, to be polite, at the upper end of the mature scale… and couldn’t cope with this theatre, which has probably the most stairs in London.


A Golden Catheter to: the producers of “The Elephant Man” at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. It’ll help them take the p*ss out of audiences more easily when charging £10 for a programme.


The Whitehouse Memorial Blue Pencil: to the Lyttelton foyer announcer for asking the audience to take their seats for “The Mother (pause) with the Hat” rather than using the full title.


Tin of Wiskas: to participants in the ‘Catfight of the Year’ to: the Hon Gwendolen Fairfax (Emily Barber) and Cecily Cardew (Imogen Doel) at the Vaudeville “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Brought the whole evening to life. Concurrently, a “Thorn Among Roses” to David Suchet as Lady Bracknell. Too pantomime, my dear.


Laurel and Hardy’s Piano: to the amateur scene shifter at “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” in Regent’s Park. This audience member on the front row decides to reach onto the stage before the show and re-arrange a pile of prop logs to improve her view.


Cameron’s Mackintosh: to Nica Burns, for producing “Just Jim Dale.”


Hand-held sparkler, for least interesting visual effect: to the National Theatre for that pathetic kite flying on a wire in “Three Days in the Country.”


The Mary Berry Cake Slice, for Best Supporting Flapjack: Gold: to the gymnastic ones cast in “Future Conditional” at the Old Vic. The 10 foot vertical leap was spectacular (you had to be there). Silver: for the slightly burnt ones in “Temple” at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre.


The Olly Murs Autocue for Worst Programme Presentation: Ambassador Theatre Group and Maidwell Marketing, for putting out a programme for “The Homecoming” costing 50p more than usual and containing the same information duplicated on two pages, plus crediting the author of the work twice with the same play. Concurrently, a sharp tap on the nose with the rolled up said programme, for not bothering to reply to my complaint either.


The Joseph Bazalgette Golden Access Hole Cover, for services to London Civilisation: to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres for their “wet umbrella wrapping machine” spotted in the foyer of the Noel Coward Theatre in November 2015. Concurrently, the Silver Access Hole Cover to the producers of “The Tiger Who Came To Tea” at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, for thoughtfully providing a “buggy park” for customers. And not locating it near the tiger cage, presumably…


The Glade Plug-In for Weird Scents: to Mischief Theatre for giving us the smell of singed fairy during “Peter Pan Goes Wrong.”


And finally,


The Grecian Urn, for simply the fastest three and a half hours I spent in a theatre this year: to all involved with “Oresteia” at the Trafalgar Studios. Remarkable.


So, that’s the awards over for the year. And what a year it was. I think, honestly it can be declared, the year of the “long one.” Practically every play I saw ran at least three hours, or so it sometimes seemed. Still, it’s value for money on the ticket price, I guess. Thanks to all those who competed, and better luck at the Oliviers for you all.

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