AWARDS SHORTLIST: MONSTAS: Best New Play of 2020

It’s been quite the year, it’s almost Christmas and what would the festive season be without some recognition of the best of 2020? Over the next month we’ll shortlist five nominees in each of 14 categories for our Oscars, or monstas if you will, of 2020.

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AWARDS SHORTLIST: MONSTAS: Best Venue of 2020

It’s been quite the year, it’s almost Christmas and what would the festive season be without some recognition of the best of 2020? Over the next month we’ll shortlist five nominees in each of 14 categories for our Oscars, or monstas if you will, of 2020.

  • Read on for 5 nominees for the monsta for best venue of the year. 2019 winner: The Old Vic , 2018: Bush Theatre

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THEATRE REVIEW: Death of England: Delroy starring Michael Balogun at the National Theatre

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

WHERE?: National Theatre RUNTIME: 90 minutes (no interval)

WHEN: 21/10/20, opens 5/11/20, runs to 28/11/20 STOP PRESS: The 2nd lockdown means the last performance will now be 4/11/20 Watch this production for free on YouTube from 27/11/20 for 24 hours from 7pm

It’s a big week for UK theatre with the rescheduled Olivier Awards on Sunday and tonight (Wednesday 21 October) the National Theatre re-opened for the 1st time since lockdown in March.

  • Read on for reasons including what National Theatre director Rufus Norris took to the stage to say
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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for October 2020 starring Death of England: Delroy

  1. National Theatre returns with Death of England: Delroy

Death of Englandwritten by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, boasted one of the most accomplished leading roles of the year as well as being one of 2020’s best new playsDeath of England: Delroy has the same authors as its near namesake and stars one of the characters mentioned in the previous work and played by Giles Terera (Rosmersholm, Duke Of Yorks). The National has closed its doors since March and this is the show it has chosen for curtain up, running 21/10 through 28/11/20. Tickets

STOP PRESS: National Theatre announces Terera will no longer perform after emergency surgery and understudy Michael Balogun will take on the role.

  • Read on for reasons including Divine Comedy, Mel C album and Bananarama book

2. Annie releases Dark Hearts album

We’ve heard 4 of the 13 tracks on the Norwegian’s 1st album for 11 years and The Streets Where I Belong (listen above) is our favourite: a soft vocal reminding of St Etienne and a gorgeously understated tune evoking nostalgia while weaving a story of hometown glory. The title track was a Song Of The Week for us in September and the album is out 16/10/20. Tickets

3. Divine Comedy play the Barbican

Divine Comedy won our Best Gig monsta last year and release 12 2CD collection Venus, Folly and Time to celebrate their 30-year back catalogue 9/10/20. They play a gig at the Barbican 5 days later which will be live-streamed ahead of a rescheduled run of 5 nights at the venue in September 2021 at which they play 2 different albums in full each night. Tickets

4. Sophie Ellis Bextor serves up Songs From The Kitchen Disco

A Humdrum Mum gave us 5 reasons why we love Sophie Ellis Bextor and on 23/10/20 the star releases her Songs From The Kitchen Disco album which combines her greatest hits with covers she performed on Friday nights during lockdown ahead of a tour next year including dates with Steps. Tickets include a solo London Palladium gig as well as a Steps show at The 02

5. Melanie C releases Colour and Light album

The artist formerly known as Sporty Spice unleashed her 8th solo album Colour and Light on 2/10 and we previewed it thanks to a fun livestream the night ahead of release. Tickets are now on sale for her 2021 tour including a gig at London’s 02 Shepherds Bush Empire

6. Bananarama release Really Saying Something book

The ‘Nanas won our Best Gig monsta in 2017 when their original line-up reunited and Siobhan left afterwards as Keren and Sara recorded a new album and toured with a Q&A thrown in. On 29/10/20 book Really Saying Something: Sara & Keren Our Story is released and we can’t wait. Details

7. French and Saunders star in Death On The Nile film

We’ve seen so much French and Saunders over the years that it’s impossible to see Dawn and Jennifer in this trailer without thinking of the over enthusiastic extras they used to portray in that series. Released in the UK 16/10/20, Wonder Woman Gadot looks stunning in this remake of the Agatha Christie classic directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh as Poirot. The impressive supporting cast includes monstagigz favourites Sophie Okonedoand Letitia Wright.

8. T’Shan Williams and Aimie Atkinson play Theatre Cafe Night Caps series

The Turbine Theatre‘s artistic director Paul Taylor-Mills hosts this series of performances titled Night Caps in association with the Theatre Cafe by West End stars including T’Shan Williams (Heathers, Other Palace) on the 8/10 and Aimie Atkinson (Pretty Woman, Piccadilly Theatre) on the 22/10. Tickets

9. Rupert Everett’s Tainted Glory book

Everett starred in, wrote and directed The Happy Prince which won our 2018 Best Film monsta and this highly anticipated third memoir, To The End Of The World: Travels With Oscar Wilde: Tainted Glory tells the story of the playwright’s last days, and how that ten-year quest to make The Happy Prince almost destroyed Everett. We’ve always enjoyed Everett’s writing and his first memoir, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, was a Sunday Times bestseller while its sequel, Vanished Years, won the Sheridan Morley Prize for Biography. Published 8/10/20

  • Picture courtesy of National Theatre via Facebook 
  • Have you seen any of these shows or films or heard the albums or read the books? Let us know what you thought in the comments below

AWARDS: MONSTAS: Our Best Theatre Actress of 2020 so far

We awarded 14 monstas for the best pop, theatre, TV and film of 2019 in December – and here we look at the cream of 2020 so far and what’s to come. Sheridan Smith, Jade Anouka, Imelda Staunton, Sharon D. Clarke and Monica Dolan are previous winners in this category.

  • Read on for our top 5 best theatre actresses of 2020 so far and our hopes for the next three months

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AWARDS: MONSTAS: Our Best Theatre Actor of 2020 so far

We awarded 14 monstas for the best pop, theatre, TV and film of 2019 in December – and here we look at the cream of 2020 so far and what’s to come. James McAvoy, George MacKay, Andrew Scott, Arinzé Kene and Daniel Monks are previous winners in this category.

  • Read on for our top 5 best theatre actors of 2020 so far and our hopes for the next three months

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INVESTIGATION: Should you join your favourite theatre as a member? (2020 update part two)

The Old Vic was the second winner of our Best Theatre Venue monsta last year and below are details of what you can expect from patron membership which for us meant sharing a rehearsal room with actors including Sally Field and Jenna Coleman (pictured).

  • Read on to find out what membership of Hampstead Theatre, National Theatre, Old Vic, Other Palace, Royal Court and Young Vic gets you

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THEATRE REVIEW: Death of England starring Rafe Spall at the National Theatre

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

WHERE? Dorfman Theatre, National Theatre RUNTIME: 100 minutes (no interval)

WHEN? 1/2, press night 6/2 runs to 7/3/20

‘I fell off the stage for the first time – this is really difficult,’ reflects Spall during his standing ovation at the climax of this 2nd preview of an eventful and demanding 100-minute monologue.

  • Read on for reasons including the last time we saw an actor fall from the stage into an audience member’s lap

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