The Inheritance wins three awards at Critics' Circle

image source, Sonia Friedman Productions

A radical adaptation of EM Forster's Howards End has won three prizes at the Critic's Circle theatre awards.

The Inheritance won best new play, best director for Stephen Daldry and best actor for Kyle Soller.

Written by Matthew Lopez, the play sees Howards End transformed into a seven-hour two-parter about young gay men in New York.

It recently transferred from London's Young Vic to the West End's Noel Coward Theatre.

It picked up rave reviews from the likes of the Evening Standard's Fiona Mountford, who wrote: "Stop the clocks; the race is won. Here is the play of this year and last year and quite possibly next year as well."

Stephen Sondheim's Company was the second biggest winner at Tuesday's awards, picking up best musical and best designer for Bunnie Christie.

Company is a musical comedy praised for its humorous take on love and marriage and stars Rosalie Craig, Patti LuPone and former Great British Bake Off host, Mel Giedroyc.

The West End revival runs until the end of March.

image source, Elliot & Harper Productions
image captionMost critics' reviews of Company were four and five star

Best Shakespearean performance went to Sophie Okonedo, who played Cleopatra opposite Ralph Fiennes in Antony & Cleopatra at the National Theatre.

It follows on from her London Evening Standard award for best actress for the same role back in November.

Patsy Ferran won best actress for playing Alma in Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke, which was put on at the Almeida Theatre.

Chris Walley won best newcomer for his role as Davey in Michael Grandage's revival of Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore opposite Poldark star Aidan Turner.

Natasha Gordon was awarded most promising playwright for her debut Nine Night, based on a traditional Jamaican nine night wake.

Neil McPherson, the artistic director of Finborough Theatre in southwest London, was given the special award for services to theatre.

The awards are run by the drama section of the Critics' Circle.

Drama section chair Mark Shenton said: "Where other award ceremonies prioritise celebrity winners, see the industry rewarding itself or act as a public popularity contest, the Critics' Circle theatre awards alone are above the fray with their independence, judged by respected critics whose job it is to see theatre week in, week out, without fear or favour, and who have no other agenda than to celebrate excellence.

"Critics are invited to reward their favourite contributions to creative excellence equally across plays and musicals."

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