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

By Peter Ormerod
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 ...

10 LADY MACBETH

Macbeth

Most Popular

    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.