The Olivier Awards. It’s not all that.
THERE are many good reasons why The Olivier Awards with Mastercard are theatre’s biggest night.
Central to most of them are the performances by actors from your favourite west end shows having the time of their lives and at the height of their theatre powers, who demand the attention of the audience.
The cast of The Lion King performed. Why? Who cares really.
Sometimes you just have to enjoy the moment without ruining it by asking too many questions. Here, Come From Away, The Inheritance, and Company triumphed. Each took away four prizes at the ceremony, hosted by Jason Manford. Manford fronted the occasion once before, in 2017.
Let’s never speak of Catherine Tate.
Miraculously, Manford did a good enough job. On a purely technical level, it was going well until he bungled a musical number with Janie Dee and plugged Kander & Ebb musical Curtains, which he is starring in. It broke up the show’s momentum badly, in fact.
Anyway, Company picked up awards for best supporting actor and actress, best musical revival and best set design. A brilliant and brave Sondheim reinvention that deserved all the awards.
The Inheritance, though, my favourite show of 2018 and a marvel of a play that dealt with the bitter legacy of the AIDS epidemic, won best new play, as well as awards for best actor and director, and lighting design.
As luck would have it, during the interval I made my way down to the Arena bar and bumped into critic Ann Treneman. We had a glass of Chardonnay. Out the corner of my eye I saw Company producer Chris Harper and director Marianne Elliott. This was the first show that I really followed religiously from Launch to Opening Night, to Benefit Performance, to closing week. It was emotional, readers.
I was thrilled that Flesh and Bone won and equally elated that Monica Dolan, picked up her first ever Olivier Award, winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in All About Eve. Also, Sally Cookson won ‘Best Entertainment and Family’ for A Monster Calls. Proving ‘The Palladium Panto’ isn’t invincible.
Elsewhere, choreographer and director Sir Matthew Bourne was presented with a Special Award by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, (no Charlie) in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to dance.
But that’s just about your lot, though, as the rest of the occasion moved with all the unpredictable thrill and dynamism of a tax return.
Would I go again?
It was far too long. I was hot in a tux; thank goodness for the Vodka Martini down the road at the Baglioni Hotel.
But if you’re a theatre lover, it was solid enough Sunday night entertainment.
Also, nice of Tom Hiddleston to show up.
If anyone summed it up best, however, it was Company Production Manager Igor, collecting on behalf of Bunny Christie (Best Set Design): “It was this or Countryfile.”
FULL LIST OF OLIVIER AWARDS 2019 WITH MASTERCARD WINNERS
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Jonathan Bailey for Company at Gielgud Theatre
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Patti LuPone for Company at Gielgud Theatre
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC
Come From Away – Book, Music and Lyrics: David Hein and Irene Sankoff; Music
Supervisor, Arrangements: Ian Eisendrath; Orchestrations: August Eriksmoen; Musical
Director/UK Music Supervisor: Alan Berry; and the band of Come From Away at Phoenix
BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION
Blkdog by Botis Seva at Sadler’s Wells
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE
Akram Khan for his performance in Xenos at Sadler’s Wells
BEST ENTERTAINMENT AND FAMILY
A Monster Calls at The Old Vic
BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER
Kelly Devine for Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre
MAGIC RADIO BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL
Company at Gielgud Theatre
BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith for Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at Aldwych Theatre
BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Sharon D. Clarke for Caroline, Or Change at Playhouse Theatre
CUNARD BEST REVIVAL
Summer And Smoke at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York's Theatre
BEST NEW COMEDY
Home, I’m Darling at National Theatre – Dorfman and Duke of York’s Theatre
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AFFILIATE THEATRE
Flesh And Bone at Soho Theatre
WHITE LIGHT AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Jon Clark for The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre
ROYAL ALBERT HALL AWARD FOR BEST SOUND DESIGN
Gareth Owen for Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Catherine Zuber for The King And I at The London Palladium
BLUE-I THEATRE TECHNOLOGY AWARD FOR BEST SET DESIGN
Bunny Christie for Company at Gielgud Theatre
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Chris Walley for The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at Noël Coward Theatre
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Monica Dolan for All About Eve at Noël Coward Theatre
BEST NEW OPERA PRODUCTION
Katya Kabanova at Royal Opera House
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA
The ensemble of Porgy And Bess at London Coliseum
Kyle Soller for The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre
Patsy Ferran for Summer And Smoke at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre
SIR PETER HALL AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR
Stephen Daldry for The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre
AMERICAN AIRLINES BEST NEW PLAY
The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre
MASTERCARD BEST NEW MUSICAL
Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre
SOCIETY OF LONDON THEATRE SPECIAL AWARD
Sir Matthew Bourne