A curious incident at the Olivier Awards

By Michael Manton, Wednesday 1 May 2013

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time dominated the UK's most prestigious theatre awards last week, equalling Matilda's record-haul of seven Oliviers. Other big winners on the night included Dame Helen Mirren and the musical Top Hat.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The winners of the most prestigious event in the UK theatrical calendar, the 37th Olivier Awards with MasterCard, were announced at a glamorous ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House.

The night was dominated by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It was nominated in eight categories and won in seven, equalling the record set by the Royal Shakespeare Company's Matilda the Musical last year, including best actor for its star, Luke Treadaway, who beat off competition from Rupert Everett, James McAvoy, Mark Rylance and Rafe Spall to pick up the prize.

The 28-year-old gives an astonishing performance as the autistic, 15-year-old maths genius Christopher Boone, who in deciding to investigate who killed his neighbour's dog Wellington embarks on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

The play is an adaptation of Mark Haddon's bestselling novel from 2003 and began life at the National Theatre before transferring to the Apollo Theatre. It continues the theatre's impressive form in successfully transferring popular and critically-acclaimed shows such as War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors to the West End.

The play has been a huge success with audiences of all ages and as well as Best New Play and Best Actor, the play also won awards for Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Lighting Design, Best Set Design and Best Sound Design.

Best Director winner, Marianne Elliott, payed tribute to the National Theatre in accepting her award. "It was an experimental journey, and like War Horse, we could not have done it anywhere else other than a properly subsidised theatre, because it was a risk," Elliott said.

Dame Helen Mirren was crowned Best Actress for her portrayal of The Queen in Peter Morgan’s drama The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre, with Richard McCabe winning Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

She said her win was down to the real-life popularity of the monarch who she said had put in the "most consistent and committed performance of the twentieth century and probably the twenty-first".

The big winner in musical theatre was Top Hat, which has been delighting audiences with the glamour of the golden age of Hollywood at the Aldwych Theatre. It scooped Best New Musical, as well as Best Theatre Choreographer and Best Costume Design.

In other categories, American actress Leigh Zimmerman, performing in A Chorus Line at the London Palladium, collected the award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.

The publicly voted BBC Radio 2 Audience Award was presented to Billy Elliot, finally winning the award after being shortlisted in the category for the last three years.


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