‘Hairspray’ tops Evening Standards

'Macbeth' was ceremony's sole double-winner

LONDON — Bucking the trend of hit Broadway musicals that leave London legit critics underwhelmed, “Hairspray” took the top tuner prize at the 53rd Evening Standard Awards. But Rupert Goold’s critically lauded revival of “Macbeth” was the ceremony’s sole double winner.

Set in an unspecified totalitarian state, the Shakespeare staging netted director kudos for Goold, while leading man Patrick Stewart drew actor honors. The production, which began at Chichester Festival Theater, closes a sold-out West End run Saturday. It travels to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for a six-week season starting Feb. 12.

The awards, voted by a group of five London theater critics, were presented Tuesday in a lunchtime ceremony at the Savoy that was notable chiefly for its lack of surprises.

Play honors went to Simon McBurney and Complicite theater company for “A Disappearing Number,” a heady rumination on the order of mathematics vs. the chaos of life, while playwright Polly Stenham took the most promising newcomer nod for her dysfunctional family drama “That Face.” The production, starring Lindsay Duncan, premiered at the Royal Court but has been tipped for a West End transfer.

The National Theater landed two awards for its productions, with Anne-Marie Duff taking the actress prize for the title role in George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan,” and Rae Smith and the Handspring Puppet Co. winning for their design collaborations on the dark children’s epic “War Horse.”

Newcomer nod went to thesp Stephen Wight for his roles in two plays by Patrick Marber, “Don Juan in Soho” at the Donmar Warehouse and “Dealer’s Choice” at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Latter transfers next month to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios.

Stephen Tompkins, who has rebuilt the Young Vic, the Royal Court, Regent’s Park Open Air Theater and the recently completed National Theater Studio, drew a special award for innovative theater architecture.

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