Hit ... Joe Kelly, Blazey Best and Rory Potter in Medea. Photo: Ben Rushton
BARRY HUMPHRIES was the toast of the Sydney Theatre Awards on Monday night, with the creator of housewife gigastar Dame Edna Everage, cultural attache Sir Les Patterson and ghost of Australia past Sandy Stone honoured with a lifetime achievement award.
Eat, Pray, Laugh ... Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage. Photo: Supplied
Humphries, who turns 79 next month and who pledged his Eat Pray Laugh! tour of 2012 would be his last, was presented with the award in recognition of his "unique and extraordinary career in Australia and internationally".
Sydney has not seen the last of the grand dame, however: she will bob up immediately after her manager in three Barry Humphries, Dame Edna & Other Marsupials concerts with the Sydney Symphony at the Opera House in June.
The program will include Humphries reading Ogden Nash verses for Carnival of the Animals, then Dame Edna tackling Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, which she calls a "little story about bravery and animal rights".
Medea, the myth about tragic siblings, swept the awards, winning best new Australian work for writers Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks – after Euripides – and best mainstage production for Belvoir Street Theatre and the Australian Theatre for Young People, best mainstage direction for Sarks and best mainstage actress for Blazey Best.
Joe Kelly and Rory Potter, who were 13 and 11 when they starred in Medea, specifically made for the Belvoir downstairs theatre, shared the best newcomer award. Potter can now be seen on stage in Neil Armfield's production of The Secret River at Sydney Theatre Company.
Punk Rock by pantsguys Productions with atyp Under the Wharf was awarded best independent production, and its director Anthony Skuse best direction of an independent production.
Josh McConville, eerie as the lead in Griffin Theatre's The Boys, took best actor in a leading role in a mainstage production, while his co-star Eryn Jean Norvill took best supporting actress for the same production.
Caroline Brazier, who relished her role as Sarah, the "fabulous monster" at a dinner party in Toby Schmitz's I Want to Sleep with Tom Stoppard, took best actress in a leading role in an independent production. Best lead actor in an independent production went to James Lugton for The Taming of the Shrew.
2012 SYDNEY THEATRE AWARD WINNERS BEST MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION
Medea (Belvoir in association with Australian Theatre for Young People)
BEST INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION
Punk Rock (pantsguys Productions with atyp Under The Wharf)
BEST DIRECTION OF A MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION
Anne-Louise Sarks (Medea)
BEST DIRECTION OF AN INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION
Anthony Skuse (Punk Rock)
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION
Blazey Best (Medea)
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION
Josh McConville (The Boys)
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN AN INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION
Caroline Brazier (I Want To Sleep With Tom Stoppard)
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN AN INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION
James Lugton (The Taming of the Shrew)
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION
Eryn Jean Norvill (The Boys)
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION
Patrick Brammall (Death of a Salesman)
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN AN INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION
Elena Carapetis (Truck Stop)
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN AN INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION
Graeme McRae (Punk Rock)
BEST STAGE DESIGN OF A MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION
Claude Marcos (Thyestes)
BEST STAGE DESIGN OF AN INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION
Michael Hankin with film/video by Sean Bacon (Truck Stop)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Gabriela Tylesova (Love Never Dies)
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Geoff Cobham (Never Did Me Any Harm)
BEST SCORE OR SOUND DESIGN
Stefan Gregory (Thyestes)
BEST NEW AUSTRALIAN WORK
Medea (Kate Mulvany and Anne-Louise Sarks after Euripides)
Joseph Kelly and Rory Potter (Medea)
BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
JUDITH JOHNSON AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Lucy Durack (Legally Blonde)
JUDITH JOHNSON AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Ben Lewis (Love Never Dies)
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Jennifer Vuletic (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Bert LaBonte (An Officer and A Gentleman)
BEST PRODUCTION FOR CHILDREN
Actor on a Box: The Luck Child (STC)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD