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London’s Critics Circle Awards Go To ‘View From the Bridge,’ ‘Gypsy’

Ivo Van Hove’s revival of “A View From the Bridge” and Jonathan Kent’s staging of “Gypsy,” starring Imelda Staunton, have picked up Critics Circle Theater Awards in London just ahead of their respective West End transfers.

Belgian director Van Hove — a New York regular who recently turned heads there with his productions of “Scenes from the Marriage” and “Angels in America” — won his first major U.K. prize with the Critics Circle’s best director trophy for his acclaimed production of Arthur Miller’s “View From the Bridge.” Mark Strong, who led the production as Eddie Carbone, was named best actor.

Stripped back to its sinews and played without furniture on a vast white stage, Van Hove’s production sold out its two-month run at the Young Vic last year after earning rapturous reviews across the board. Having missed out at the Evening Standard awards in November, its success comes a fortnight before it opens in the West End, with an NT Live cinema screening scheduled for March 26. Strong will reprise his performance as Carbone alongside a cast including Nicola Walker and Phoebe Fox.

Director Kent’s Chichester Festival Theater production of “Gypsy,” with Staunton in the lead role, picked up the award for best musical. That show will also shift to the West End, starting a run at the Savoy Theater March 28. Mike Bartlett’s “King Charles III,” a mock history play imagining the future of the British monarchy, was named best new play as its West End run comes to a close, following a sell-out run at the Almeida last spring.

Now in their 26th year, the Critics Circle Theater Awards are presented annually following a vote of professional theater critics working in the U.K. They have a strong track record, particularly when it comes to spotting emerging talent. Previous winners of the newcomer award include Eddie Redmayne, Rachel Weisz and Andrew Garfield.

This year that prize goes to Patsy Ferran, currently playing Jim Hawkins in the National Theater’s mainstage production of “Treasure Island.” Ferran, a 25-year-old actor who graduated from RADA last summer, made her West End debut opposite Angela Lansbury in “Blithe Spirit.”

Another newcomer, Barney Norris, won the promising playwright award for his play “Visitors,” a tender examination of aging and Alzheimer’s. His win now puts him in the company of prior award recipients Jez Butterworth, Lucy Prebble and Conor McPherson, among others.

Helen McCrory was named best actress for her performance in “Medea” at the National Theater, while Anthony Sher’s Falstaff in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Henry IV Parts I and II” won best Shakespearean performance.

The prize for best designer was shared between Es Devlin for the mirror-lined virtual world created for the Royal Court and Headlong production of “The Nether” — another incoming West End show, and a play soon to bow Off Broadway — and 1927’s video designer Paul Barritt, who put together the animations for “Golem” at the Young Vic.

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