(Mark Brown’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/20.)
After alternating playing Victor Frankenstein and the Creature for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller have been rewarded jointly with the best actor prize at the UK's longest-running theatre awards.
The judges for the 2011 London Evening Standard awards said it would have been "invidious not to recognise both actors" for what were memorable performances in Frankenstein, the Danny Boyle-directed production.
One role involved two hours in makeup and getting naked on stage to play Frankenstein's creation; the other, that of the egomaniac scientist himself, did not.
Although the awards have been running since 1955, Cumberbatch and Miller are the first to share the best actor award, jointly following in some illustrious footsteps – the first recipient was Richard Burton for Henry V, followed by Paul Scofield, Laurence Olivier and Michael Redgrave. The duo won from a shortlist which also included Bertie Carvel for Matilda the Musical and Charles Edwards for Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe.
The ceremony at London's Savoy Hotel on Sunday night, hosted by Dame Edna Everage, proved a successful one for the National, which received the most nominations and some significant wins.
They included Mike Leigh, who was named best director for Grief, his heartbreaking 1950s story of unhappiness and loneliness which was staged in the Cottesloe, the National's smallest auditorium.