A little later than usual, but first of all, many thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber for closing the show to let us host the awards at the Gillian Lynne Theatre this year. Well, I say closed, I mean, well done everybody here for pretending to be the new cast, and if anyone comes in, just a quick burst of “Bad Cinderella” should distract them...
Second, a slight change in format, given that theatres were only open for half a year and the monkey attended far fewer shows than usual – but was grateful to be at all of them.
There are only a few awards to hand out, and it is followed by the usual complete list of productions the monkey got to, graded as always on its popular 1990s TV sitcom scale.
And with all that said, and while the foyer look-out still says nobody is around, the awards for this year are:
The Theatremonkey Gold Medal: once again to everybody who got the theatre industry up and running and kept it that way even in the depths of pingdemic, pandemic and ping-pandemic when the green room microwave went on the fritz and covered everything in three feet of popcorn (and the audience were told it was “technical difficulties” – the crunching from the orchestra pit between songs was the giveaway).
Joking aside, every single person in the business who stepped up, stepped in, covered, re-covered, funded and refunded, and got the curtain up every single time, this one is for you all.
And on that note, the first humorous award is:
The third wheel on the wagon (for keeping it rolling along): to the cast, company and production team of “Dick Whittington” at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 30th December 2021. Their efforts are blogged here, and the monkey cannot tell them how grateful it was to see panto again. Health troubles which have dogged it since May meant it could have missed out, and this wonderful lot ensured it didn’t.
The Barry Manilow Piano (for just one voice, singing in the darkness): to “Pantoland” at the London Palladium. As Donny Osmond sang “Any Dream Will Do” the monkey became aware of hundreds of young audience voices instinctively singing the “ah-ah’s” and echoes at the right moments. A golden moment of magic.
Whitney Houston's Greatest Love Of All (for knowing children are our future and showing them the way): to Dr John Rigby, musical director at “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” matinee on 25th August 2021. Engaging happily with the curious little boy seated behind him before the show, during the interval and after. Sir Cameron Mackintosh got started when someone in the pit at “Salad Days” was kind to him... so, watch this space and thank you Dr Rigby for planting a seed.
Rudolph’s Antlers (as the glowing nose has already been given away): to Howell Binkley, for the lighting design at “Jersey Boys” (Trafalgar Theatre). The actor playing Frankie Valli “missed his mark” (didn’t stand in quite the right place) and his nose received conspicuous illumination. In fact, you could definitely say it glowed.
The Phil Collins Hickory Tree and Rhythm Stick: to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres for creatively issuing drumsticks to their security staff to use as probes when poking into people’s bags.
And last, but by no means least,
The Boris Johnson Wine and Cheese Hamper (for creative manipulation of the facts): to the pair of ladies in the rear stalls at “Life of Pi” in November 2021. Entering just before the start, they sized up quickly the fact that they were in the back row, had school children nearby and were basically just “not being seated where we would like or are accustomed to, dear” (despite not paying anything like top price). Seizing on the fact they were heavily masked and only half of those around them were, and they REALLY COULD NOT ABIDE being around the unmasked, they demanded (and got) moved to seats in the third row... where, the monkey observed, they not only didn’t have the row to themselves as they did at the back but also... nobody around them was masked there either... hmmm....
On that note it’s time to wrap things up, have one last quick spin on the revolve (let’s crank it up to 33 1/3 and go for the record (or at least a bad pun to end on). If everybody could sneak out quietly the way we came in, let’s hope for a far better 2022 for us all, and thanks for coming out.
To end, the monkey’s entire theatregoing year was as follows:
Out Of This World
Carousel (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park) (SO – Standing Ovation)
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (London Palladium with Linzi Hateley) (SO)
Hairspray (London Coliseum)
Blithe Spirit (Harold Pinter Theatre)
The Normal Heart (Olivier Theatre) (SO)
Indecent (Menier Chocolate Factory) (SO)
The Tragedy of Macbeth (Almeida Theatre) (SO)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Duke of York’s Theatre) (SO)
Love Story – The 10th Anniversary In Concert (Cadogan Hall) (SO)
A Christmas Carol (Old Vic Theatre) (SO)
Dick Whittington (New Wimbledon Theatre) (SO)
The Wonder Years
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (London Palladium with Alexandra Burke)
2:22 A Ghost Story (Noel Coward Theatre)
Jersey Boys (Trafalgar Theatre)
Disney’s Frozen (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)
Cinderella (Gillian Lynne Theatre)
Camp Siegfried (Old Vic Theatre)
East Is East (Lyttelton Theatre)
Heathers The Musical (New Wimbledon Theatre)
Moulin Rouge (Piccadilly Theatre)
Pantoland (London Palladium)
Ben Elton Live 2021 (Harold Pinter Theatre)
Back To The Future The Musical (Adelphi Theatre)
Romeo and Juliet (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park)
Anything Goes (Barbican Theatre)
White Noise (Bridge Theatre)
Hamlet (Young Vic Theatre)
The Drifters Girl (Garrick Theatre)
Indecent Proposal (Southwark Playhouse)
Life of Pi (Wyndhams Theatre)
Madness in Concert (Wembley Arena)
Saved By The Bell
Love and Other Acts of Violence (Donmar Warehouse)
For once, nothing was that bad – or the monkey managed to avoid it! Well done everybody.