Last night was the biggest night of the year when it comes to London Theatre. The Laurence Olivier Awards are presented by the Society of London Theatre, and they’ve been an important night in the theatre calendar for over 40 years. Last year the ceremony moved to the Royal Albert Hall, and I’ve got a few thoughts about this year’s winners that I want to quickly chat about.
When the nominees for the Olivier Awards were announced earlier this year, I was shocked at how few of the shows I’d actually been to considering 2017 had been my most theatre-heavy show of my life. In fact, I’d only made it to 4 of the shows with a nod which is a little disappointing.
I want to give a quick mention about the coverage given to the Olivier Awards across various UK platforms. Honestly, it was really disappointing. There was just one live stream available in the country which I was invited to, but due to so many trips to London this month I have to pick and choose my battles and thought that reviewing should take priority. After reading other people’s experience of the stream, it wasn’t great for influencers who went so despite the initial FOMO, I don’t feel like I missed out too much by watching the ITV coverage four and a half hours after the awards took place.
However, the ITV coverage didn’t show everything nor did it show everything in order. I missed certain acceptance speeches that I was definitely interested in hearing, and I wish I could’ve watched it in real time without having to trek down to the capital on a Sunday night. For me, everybody in the theatre is important – costume, lighting and set are just as important as the leading actors and actresses and I always miss this coverage.
Whilst I was never able to go to Covent Garden for the stream, I understand it was a brilliant occasion each year to celebrate the Olivier Awards with the theatre community and I really hope they bring this back next year. Theatre, especially London theatre, is truly made by its community, and I feel like this has been lost in this year’s awards. The community was alienated, and whilst the smaller influencers were somewhat included with an exclusive look-in at the Olivier Awards, they were left with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Hamilton was nominated for a record-breaking 13 awards this year, but due to multiple nominations in a couple of categories, it could win a maximum of 10. I am yet to see this show, but I’ve got a ticket booked for the summer and I have been known to enter the lottery when I know I have a spare evening in London (I obviously haven’t won yet). I can’t comment on whether I personally believe the awards were deserved or not – although side note: I saw Giles Terera in The Book Of Mormon 5 years ago and he was brilliant – but I can talk about my opinions on the other shows.
I saw Everybody’s Talking About Jamie almost a month ago, and this was Hamilton’s biggest competitor during this year’s Olivier Awards. Whilst Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was nominated for just 5 awards, these were for the ‘big’ awards. The big battle was the best new musical, and whilst we all expected Hamilton to win, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie had a huge potential for being a big win. It is the first new British musical in quite a few years that has had the potential to win big, and in any other year it definitely would’ve done.
AMERICAN AIRLINES BEST NEW PLAY: The Ferryman
BEST NEW COMEDY: Labour Of Love
BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION: Flight Pattern
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE: Francesca Velicu for her performance in English National Ballet’s production of Pina Bausch’s Le Sacre Du Printemps
BEST ENTERTAINMENT AND FAMILY: Dick Whittington
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Vicki Mortimer for Follies
DELTA LIVE AWARD FOR BEST SOUND DESIGN: Nevin Steinberg for Hamilton
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Bertie Carvel for Ink
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Denise Gough for Angels In America
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AFFILIATE THEATRE: Killology
BLUE-I THEATRE TECHNOLOGY AWARD FOR BEST SET DESIGN: Bob Crowley and 59 Productions for An American In Paris
WHITE LIGHT AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN: Howell Binkley for Hamilton
BEST ACTOR: Bryan Cranston for Network
BEST ACTRESS: Laura Donnelly for The Ferryman
BEST DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes for The Ferryman
BEST NEW OPERA PRODUCTION: Semiramide
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA: Joyce DiDonato and Daniela Barcellona for their performances in Semiramide
BEST REVIVAL: Angels In America
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC: Hamilton
BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER: Andy Blankenbuehler for Hamilton
MAGIC RADIO BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL: Follies
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Michael Jibson for Hamilton
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL: Sheila Atim for Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic and the Noël Coward Theatre
BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Shirley Henderson for Girl From The North Country
BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Giles Terera for Hamilton
MASTERCARD BEST NEW MUSICAL: Hamilton
SPECIAL AWARD: David Lan
If you know theatre, you’ll see that there were no real shocks. And if you caught the productions, you’ll probably feel the same. But this year’s Olivier Awards have made me realise that I need to go to to the theatre more than I already do, despite having already seen 4 shows in April already. I just hope I’m able to get a more positive experience watching the ceremony next year. Let’s see which productions will be attempting to match Hamilton’s incredible number of nominations in 2019.