A roar of flamenco ended the final week of this year’s Herald Angel Awards, as guitarist Daniel Martinez and his company brought an Andalusian flavour to Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre on Sunday morning. Martinez was awarded an Angel for his show, Art of Believing, seen at the Space Triplex venue on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and described in these pages by Rob Adams as ‘undiluted Andalusia.’

It was a suitably international finale to this year’s awards, now enabled by the Festival Theatre’s umbrella body, Capital Theatres. Over its quarter century existence, the Herald arts team has always prided itself on its expansive reach across the family of awards created with meticulous artistry by Oli Conway.

The Herald:

The grandest of the Angel family, the Herald Archangel, was given to Ridiculusmus, the unique theatrical duo of Jon Haynes and David Woods, whose run of Die! Die! Old People Die! marked the pair’s longstanding relationship with Edinburgh, which includes a Herald Angel in 1999 for two shows, Yes Yes Yes and The Exhibitionists. As Mary Brennan wrote about Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, ‘Think Beckett meets Monty Python.’

Other Angel winners included Sydney Mancasola, whose performance as Bess McNeill in Tom Morris’ Scottish Opera/Opera Ventures production of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves was described by Keith Bruce as ‘a soprano tour de force.’ Another winner was Australian comedian Zoe Coombs Marr, whose show, Bossy Bottom, was described by Gayle Anderson as ‘a master-class in meta-humour’, while Knot, saw circus duo Nikki & JD win one for a show Mary Brennan called ‘an achingly poignant expression of supportive friendship.’

The Little Devil awarded to Edinburgh Festival Chorus after their performance of Elgar’s The Kingdom with the Halle Orchestra was threatened by the loss through illness of both conductor Sir Mark Elder and singers Alice Coote and Michael Fabiano. Salvation came when Martyn Brabbins picked up Elder’s baton, with Catherine Wyn-Rogers and David Butt Philip also stepping into the breach.

Things were brought closer to home when a Herald Angel was given to EIF Head of Staging Alastair Gow, who after forty-four years is retiring from a job that has left this most modest of men renowned and adored by his peers.

It was only fitting that the awards were presented by Herald writer Miranda Heggie, who in 2003 was the first ever winner of the Wee Cherub award. The Wee Cherub was set up to honour the best of the Herald Young Critics, the partnership between the Herald and EIF that enables pupils from Edinburgh schools to write reviews under professional conditions.

This year’s winner was Holy Rood High School student Olivia Campanile, who wrote about Night Walk for Edinburgh, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s audio-visual walk around the city in a partnership between EIF and the Fruitmarket Gallery. As Campanile described it, the event ‘creates a city within the city.’ An all too fitting final word on this year’s Herald Angels.