This weekend was one of the pivotal awards weekends in the theatre calendar, with the stars of the West End hitting the red carpet to celebrate the best of theatre, dance and opera that London had to offer. The 39th Lawrence Olivier Awards took place on Sunday 12th April at the Royal Opera House and as ever there were some expected wins for the year’s most popular productions but also some surprises as well deserved dark horses crept up unawares.
In the Theatre category, ‘A View from the Bridge’ came away as the main success story, picking up 3 awards (Best Revival, Best Director for Ivan van Hove and Best Actor for Mark Strong). It seemed as though it was just too much for main rivals ‘King Charles III’ and ‘Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies’, both of each were still rewarded for 1 award each – ‘King Charles III’ took Best New Play and Nathaniel Parker (Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies) took away Best Supporting Actor.
It was a strong night for the women as well, with the more experienced stars showing that they still command the boards in the West End. Penelope Wilton (Taken at Midnight) beat out stiff competition from the likes of Imelda Staunton, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Gillian Anderson to take Best Actress. But, the biggest cheer of the night went out to Angela Lansbury (Blythe Spirit), who at 89 went home with her first Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress.
The turn of the musicals started with Wicked picking up the This Morning Audience Award against Billy Elliot (who won the award 2 years ago), Matilda the Musical (which won the most Olivier awards for a musical) and Jersey Boys. After that it was swiftly dominated by the jukebox musicals, with the Kinks new musical ‘Sunny Afternoon’ sweeping the board for the men – George Maguire and John Dagleish took away Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor respectively, with the musical itself picking up 4 awards in total (Outstanding Achievement in Music and Mastercard Best New Musical). The women’s awards were dominated by Beautiful, with Lorna Want and Katie Brayben winning Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress respectively.
There were 2 Special Awards at this year’s ceremony, the first going to Sylvie Guillem in recognition for her contribution to dance for 39 years. The second award was given to the recently departed Artistic Director at the Old Vic, Kevin Spacey.
Congratulations to all award winners and nominees, for full details see the Olivier Awards website itself: http://www.olivierawards.com/