Shock result at Short & Sweet Final

Ro Dempsey, centre, winner of the Short+Sweet touring production actor award

Wildcard ‘bolter’ It’s All the Rage scooped pool of the top awards at the Short+Sweet Gala Awards Final at NIDA on Saturday. Prizes valued at over $40,000 were distributed to the best of the fest.

The funny… then chilling play – by Melbourne writer Carl J. Sorheim, directed by Susie Hardgrave and starring Anthony Slater in a tour-de-force solo performance – picked up best actor, best director and best overall production awards.

The final performance of the night in which 12 of the best plays from the 2-month-long festival of 170 short plays were showcased, It’s All The Rage had battled through from the its slot in the single performance ‘Wildcard’ section’, won the Wildcards final last week and then blew away the packed theatre on two nights of the final at the Parade Theatre, NIDA.

The other stand out result – and a popular one with the audience – was Mr and Mrs Metcalfe Enjoy the Music of Elton John – the alternately funny and moving play about a dual suicide – which won Best Play for Sydney writer Frank Leggett and Best Actress for Karen Cobban.

The most popular choice was the People’s Choice (audience vote) winner Pride and Prejudice in 10 Minutes Flat which also featured festival Best New Talent award -winner Celia Kelly as Lizzie Bennett.

The Movie Extra TV Series in 10 parts, To Be Or Not To Be – to be screened later this year – follows the backstage dramas of all the finalists right through the glittering finale.

Full awards list:
Best Overall Production – It’s All the Rage by Carl J. Sorheim (Vic), dir Susie Hardgrave, starring Anthony Slater
Best Play  – Mr and Mrs Metcalfe Enjoy the Music of Elton John by Frank Leggett
Best Independent Theatre Company production – Taking a Bullett (Still Knocks Productions) written by Steve McGrath, starring Steve McGrath and Gerry Sont
Short+Sweet touring production actor award (a full time professional role for 3 months national tour) – Ro Dempsey (Perfect Stillness)
Best Actor – Anthony Slater (It’s All the Rage)
Best Actress – Karen Coban (Mr and Mrs Metcalfe Enjoy the Music of Elton John)
Best Actor runner-up – Brett Heath (Life of Death)
Best Actress runner-up – Gertraud Ingeborg (Thin Air)
People’s Choice (audience favourite of the festival) – Pride and Prejudice in 10 Minutes Flat by Tim Hehir (Melb), directed by David Farland
Best New Talent – Celia Kelly (Pride and Prejudice, Nuns)

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