These are the ten greatest stage characters as voted by theatre-lovers - do you agree?

Friday, 11th September 2020, 9:57 am
Updated Friday, 11th September 2020, 9:58 am
Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois in A Streecar Named Desire at the Young Vic in 2014 (photo: Johan Persson)
Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois in A Streecar Named Desire at the Young Vic in 2014 (photo: Johan Persson)

Theatre-lovers have voted for their favourite characters from stage plays - and the results may come as a surprise.

Readers of the website whatsonstage.com were asked to pick their most-loved roles, with the resulting list blending centuries-old parts with those from the past decade ...

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10 LADY MACBETH

Macbeth

A woman infuriated by her husband’s lack of ambition, Lady Macbeth spurs him on to claim what she believes is his destiny. It’s one of Shakespeare’s most sought-after female roles and retains its power and potency 400 years on.

9 SCORPIUS MALFOY

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

It’s among the most ambitious shows in the West End - and not just in its staging. The play depicts Harry Potter’s son as best friends with Scorpius Malfoy, whose father was Potter’s nemesis.

Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic in 2014 (photo: Johan Persson)

8 WILLY LOMAN

Death of a Salesman

Wendell Pierce’s turn as the mightily mediocre Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s classic won plaudits aplenty last year. The character’s decline is among the most deeply affecting in theatre.

7 INSPECTOR GOOLE

An Inspector Calls

The enigmatic inspector in J B Priestly’s scathing drama reveals the attitudes of a particular British upper-class family to devastating effect.

6 VANYA

Uncle Vanya

Anton Chekhov’s 1898 play tells of two friends, Vanya and Astrov, who both fall for the same woman while bemoaning the boredom of their provincial existence.

5 LADY BRACKNELL

The Importance of Being Earnest

One of the great grand-dames of the stage. “A haaandbaaag?” indeed.

4 BEATRICE

Much Ado About Nothing

The sharp-witted heroine from Shakespeare’s romantic comedy is more than a match for Benedick - or any other man, come to think of it.

3 HAMLET

Hamlet

The defining role for many a stage actor, Hamlet is tragic, comic, and, most of all, profoundly human.

2 CHRISTOPHER BOONE

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher’s particular way of experiencing the world doesn’t always make life easy for him, but it opens up wonders aplenty too.

1 BLANCHE DUBOIS

A Streetcar Named Desire

Tennessee Williams’ tortured, multi-faceted character is operatically epic on a domestic scale. It’s a challenging role, but one that brings rich rewards.