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Slater emerges as the peoples' choice in West End



Story by Jack Foley

OVER 11,000 theatre fans have named Hollywood actor, Christian Slater, as best actor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, at the Theatregoers' Choice Awards 2005.

The popular star of films such as True Romance and Windtalkers emerged as the recipient of the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards for his riveting portrayal of RP McMurphy in the West End version of Ken Kesey’s cult 1960s novel.

Commenting at a recent London press conference for Churchill: The Hollywood Years, Slater said of his role in Cuckoo's Nest:

"Doing the play, initially I did have some trepidation about it but I always wanted to come to the West End.

"It was a terrific opportunity to go to Edinburgh and be a part of the theatre festival there. It is a wonderful play at the end of the day, and a great role.

"What I ended up doing, at the suggestion of the director, was not watching the Jack Nicholson movie at all. I focussed mainly on the book and got a treasure trove of information from that.

"That made it possible to play RP McMurphy as opposed to Jack Nicholson really."

The Theatregoers' Choice Awards were named at the same time as the annual Critics' Circle Awards, which named Alan Bennett's The History Boys as best new play.

The acclaimed production is set in a grammar school and is based on Bennett's experience as a teacher. It stars Richard Griffiths, who also won the best actor prize, and has been on at the National Theatre since last May.

Popular musical, The Producers, starring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans, was deservedly named best musical, while Victoria Hamilton was best actress for Suddenly Last Summer.

Festen's Rufus Norris was named best director, Rebecca Lenkiewicz was most promising playwright, for The Night Season, and Eddie Redmayne most promising newcomer for The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?

Other notable Critics' Circle winners were Paul Rhys, who was named best Shakespearean performer for Measure for Measure at the National Theatre and Christopher Oram, who won the design award for Suddenly Last Summer.

Both the Critics' Circle and Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice award winners were announced on Tuesday, February 1, 2005.

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