Play about riotous schoolgirls in running for Scots theatre awards

Theatre critics award contender Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic
Theatre critics award contender Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic
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A musical play about a group of schoolgirls running riot, a revival of the Samuel Beckett classic Waiting for Godot and an adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s iconic novel Lanark are among the contenders for Scotland’s annual theatre awards.

Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum, which has been celebrating its 50th anniversary but grappling with funding cuts, and the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow dominate the nominations for the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland (Cats).

Both Lanark, which the Citizens Theatre co-produced with the Edinburgh International Festival, and the production of Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, which starred Brian Cox and Bill Paterson, were premiered at the Lyceum in August and September respectively.

Zinnie Harris’s three-part play This Restless House, which was based on the epic Greek trilogy The Oresteia, was rewarded with five nominations just after ending its run at the Citizens.

It leads the nominations along with Lanark, whose lead actor Sandy Grierson is among the contenders for best actor along with Paul Higgins, star of TV political comedy The Thick Of It, who is in the running for his role in a revival of a previous EIF hit Blackbird, by David Harrower.

Former Casualty star Maureen Beattie and EastEnders actress Emmanuella Cole are among the nominees for the best female performance prize, for Right Now at the Traverse and The Iliad at the Lyceum respectively.

Cox, Paterson and their Waiting for Godot co-stars Benny Young and John Bett will be up against the all-female cast of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, the National Theatre of Scotland’s hit Fringe show based on Alan Warner’s cult novel The Sopranos, which has just embarked on a UK tour, for the best ensemble honour.

Waiting for Godot, Our Ladies, Lanark and This Restless House are vying for the flagship honour of best production when the 14th annual Cats ceremony is staged at the Lyceum on 12 June.

Three shows that were staged at the neighbouring Traverse Theatre will be competing with This Restless House for the best new play prize – Linda Duncan McLaughlin’s Descent, A Gambler’s Guide to Dying by Gary McNair and Anita Vettesse’s Ring Road.

The Lyceum’s outgoing artistic director, Mark Thomson, is nominated as best director for Waiting for Godot, along with Dominic Hill for This Restless House, Jemima Levick for Dundee Rep’s production of Great Expectations, and Robert Softley Gale for Purposeless Movements, by the Birds of Paradise Theatre Company.

Almost 180 shows eligible for the awards were seen by the 15 judges over the last year.

The Scotsman’s theatre critic, Joyce McMillan, the co-chair of the judging panel, said: “Once again, our nominations range in scale from short shows staged on a minimal budget to massive main stage productions featuring global stars.

“We’ll be celebrating the sheer diversity of Scottish theatre, as well as its greatest achievements, when we get together at the Lyceum on 12 June.”

Mark Fisher, the other co-chair, who also writes for The Scotsman, said: “This has been another vintage year for theatre in Scotland with no fewer than 20 productions recognised in the shortlists.

“That so many different productions have made the shortlists demonstrates tangibly the breadth of creative talent in Scottish theatre today.”