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Edinburgh Lyceum’s Rhinoceros scoops four prizes at Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland

Robert Jack in Rhinoceros at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic Robert Jack in Rhinoceros at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
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A revival of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros is the major winner at this year’s Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland.

The co-production between Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, the Edinburgh International Festival and DOT Theatre, Istanbul, won in four of the 10 categories, including best overall production.

The play’s director, DOT Theatre’s Murat Daltaban, won the best director award, Robert Jack won best male performance for his appearance as Berenger and musician Oguz Kaplangi was recognised in the award for best music and sound.

Announcing the award for best director, Sunday Herald and Daily Telegraph critic Mark Brown said Daltaban’s win was particularly significant.

He said: “The play is a powerful warning about the dangers of conformity, of a mass succumbing to a social miasma that robs us of our culture, our freedom and, ultimately, our humanity.

“The times in which we live can feel like the 1930s with the film running slightly slower. That is particularly true of Murat’s homeland Turkey, where freedom of thought and expression, not least the freedoms of theatre makers, are currently under serious threat.”

The awards were presented by actor Blythe Duff, at a ceremony in the recently refurbished Perth Theatre. A total of 180 productions were eligible for the CATS with half those eligible in the new play category.

However best female performance went to another revival with Jessica Hardwick winning for her role as The Woman in Perth’s Knives and Hens.

The best ensemble award also went to a revival with the Lyceum picking up a fifth award, this time for Tony Cownie’s adaptation of Hannah Cowley’s biting 1780 comedy of manners The Belle’s Stratagem, transported to Georgian Edinburgh.

The EIF was successful in two further categories with Flight, its commission from Vox Motus and the Beacon Arts Centre winning best design and best technical presentation.

Best new play was won by Peter Arnott for his adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s The Monarch of the Glen at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

The winners in full:

Best male performance 

Robert Jack (Berenger), Rhinoceros, Edinburgh International Festival and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with DOT Theatre, Istanbul 

Best female performance

Jessica Hardwick (Young Woman), Knives in Hens, Perth Theatre

Best ensemble

The Belle’s Stratagem, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh

Best director

Murat Daltaban, Rhinoceros, Edinburgh International Festival and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with DOT Theatre, Istanbul

Best design

Jamie Harrison (co-designer), Rebecca Hamilton (co-designer and lead model maker), Simon Wilkinson (lighting designer), Flight, Vox Motus in association with Beacon Arts Centre, commissioned by Edinburgh International Festival

Best music and sound

Oguz Kaplangi (composer, sound designer), Rhinoceros, Edinburgh International Festival and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with DOT Theatre, Istanbul

Best technical presentation

Flight, Vox Motus in association with Beacon Arts Centre, commissioned by Edinburgh International Festival

Best production for children and young people

Space Ape, Andy Cannon and Red Bridge

Best new play 

Peter Arnott, The Monarch of the Glen, Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Best production 

Rhinoceros, Edinburgh International Festival and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with DOT Theatre, Istanbul

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