National, Royal Court nab lion's share of noms

LONDON — Productions at leading not-for-profit houses created an almost total shut-out for West End commercial theater in the nominations for the 57th Evening Standard Drama Awards, announced Monday.

Of the 29 nominations, just three are for work in London’s commercial West End. Cameron Mackintosh’s “Betty Blue Eyes,” up for best musical and Kristin Scott Thomas is up against Sheridan Smith for actress for their performances in “Betrayal” and “Flare Path” respectively.

The lion’s share of the noms are split between the National Theater and the Royal Court, with nine and eight nods respectively. The two houses’ impact on the U.K. legit economy is evidenced by playwright Richard Bean, who receives noms for best play at both houses. Bean’s “The Heretic,” a sharp comedy about climate change, was a hit at the Royal Court and his “One Man, Two Guv’nors” had an SRO run at the National, again on U.K. tour, was screened in cinemas worldwide as part of NTLive and is now previewing in the West End.

Helmer Danny Boyle’s National Theater debut “Frankenstein,” another NTLive broadcast, receives three noms, incuding actor, which is being fought over by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who nightly alternated the roles of the monster and his creator.

Toughest call for the judges is likely to be musical. “Betty Blue Eyes” is up against “Matilda, the Musical” (now previewing in the West End after its smash-hit run at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon) and the National’s surprise hit “London Road.” This was a genre-busting piece of musical theater in which personal testimony surrounding a real-life murder case was set to music.

U.S. talent was recognized with Rob Ashford bagging a nom for director for his Donmar Warehouse production of “Anna Christie” and Gina Gionfriddo nommed for play for the Almeida production of “Becky Shaw.”

The latter also won a nod for U.S. thesp David Wilson Barnes for most outstanding newcomer. He’s up against the most difficult head-to-head, which sees Phoebe Fox competing against Kyle Soller for performances in several productions. Fox and Soller are married in real-life.

The ceremony will take place at the Savoy Hotel on Nov. 20, hosted by Dame Edna Everage.

And the nominees are:

Actor

Bertie Carvel, “Matilda, The Musical” (RSC Stratford-upon-Avon and Cambridge)

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Frankenstein,” National

Charles Edwards, “Much Ado About Nothing,” Shakespeare’s Globe

Jonny Lee Miller, “Frankentstein”

Actress

Sheridan Smith, “Flare Path,” Theater Royal Haymarket

Samantha Spiro, “Chicken Soup With Barley,” Royal Court

Kristin Scott Thomas, “Betrayal,” Comedy Theater

Play

Richard Bean, “The Heretic,” Royal Court

Richard Bean “One Man, Two Guv’nors,” National

Gina Gionfriddo, “Becky Shaw,” Almeida

Nina Raine, “Tribes,” Royal Court

The Ned Sherrin Award for Musical

“Betty Blue Eyes,” Novello

“London Road,” National

“Matilda, the Musical”

Director

Rob Ashford, “Anna Christie,” Donmar Warehouse

Dominic Cooke, “Chicken Soup With Barley”

Edward Hall, “Richard III and “The Comedy of Errors,” Hampstead

Mike Leigh, “Grief,” National

Design

Bunny Christie, “Men Should Weep,” National

Lizzie Clachan, “Wastwater,” Royal Court

Adam Cork, sound design for “Anna Christie” and “King Lear,” Donmar Warehouse

Mark Tildesley, “Frankenstein”

The Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright

E.V. Crowe, “Kin,” Royal Court

Vivienne Franzmann, “Mogadishu,” Lyric Hammersmith

Penelope Skinner, “The Village Bike,” Royal Court

The Milton Shulman Award for Most Promising Newcomer

Phoebe Fox, for her performances in

“As You Like It,” The Rose, Kingston, and “The Acid Test,” The Royal Court and “There Is A War,” National

Malachi Kirby, for his performance in “Mogadishu”

Kyle Soller, for his performances in “The Glass Menagerie” and “Government Inspector” (Young Vic) and “The Faith Machine” (Royal Court)

David Wilson Barnes, for his performance in “Becky Shaw”

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