The awards ceremony staged at the London Palladium on Sunday October 25th was a very different affair to its predecessors. Stripped of an audience, the interplay reminded us of what we – and every theatre up and down the country – were missing; the excitement of being there in the room, together.
Awards-wise musicals DEAR EVAN HANSEN and & JULIET scored three awards each, with HANSEN picking up Best Actor for Sam Tutty, Best Musical and Best Original Score, while & JULIET scooped for Miriam Teak-Lee as Best Actress, Cassidy Janson as Best Supporting Actress and David Bedella as Best Supporting Actor. MARY POPPINS took two awards (for Stephen Mear and Sir Matthew Bourne as Best Choreographers, and for Bob Crowley winning Best Set Design).
PRESENT LAUGHTER won Best Actor for Andrew Scott and Best Supporting Actress for Indira Varma, and DEATH OF A SALESMAN interestingly won Best Actress for Sharon D Clarke (who is the first person to be nominated in all four performing categories and won in three of them) and Best Director for Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell.
In a further significant tribute to female creative talent, EMILIA’s all female team scored three wins Best Entertainment for writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, with Joanna Scotcher winning Best Costume Design and Emma Laxton winning for Best Sound Design. Paule Constable won her fifth Olivier for the lighting design for National Theatre’s production of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, and Emma Reeves and Theresa Heskins collected the new award for Best Family Show for The Worst Witch. Outstanding Achievement in Dance was won (from an all-female shortlist) by Sara Baras for her choreography and performance in BALLET FLAMENCO – SOMBRAS at Sadlers Wells.
Personally I was disappointed to see that the wonderful AMELIE did not win any of its three nominated categories (Best Actress for Audrey Brisson, Best Original Score and Best Musical).
It was heartwarming, though, to see Sir Ian McKellen receive his seventh Olivier Award, this time for his 80th birthday tour of UK theatres which also raised substantial funds for the theatres themselves. Can you imagine how much MORE desperate theatres’ plights would have been without this cash injection just before the pandemic!!! We all have a lot for which to be grateful to Sir Ian. From him came the most memorable line of the evening, “A country which cares about its live theatre is a healthy country”.
Yet again the IN MEMORIAM section was badly flawed, notable omissions from this most important roll call (four seconds each on screen, not much for a complete life, eh? Reduced from six seconds a couple of years ago. (In another decade they’ll just send out an email…..)) this year are Bob West and David Grant, two of this country’s most successful and important Company Managers who have kept many a show sailing smoothly over the decades, and allowed producers to sleep easily in their beds at night.
Anyone with insomnia wishing to see the ceremony can do so when it is (seemingly grudgingly) broadcast on ITV on Tuesday 27th October at 11.15pm. Alternatively, you can watch the programme (according to availability in countries outside the UK) on ITVHub on the link below.
So, another awards ceremony over. It seems unlikely we shall see the Olivier Awards again until 2022, which may mean that the competition is even fiercer than usual. Only time will tell. For now, let’s send our congratulations to the winners and all the nominees!
YOU CAN FIND A FULL LIST OF 2020 OLIVIER AWARD NOMINEES AND WINNERS HERE
YOU CAN WATCH THE ITV BROADCAST ON THE ITV HUB HERE