Broadway Features and Reviews
The Olivier Awards 2010: The British Tony Awards
By Caitlin Maggs, Broadway Magazine
It's always the quiet ones you want to watch. Amongst the haze of unpredictability that seemed to engulf this year's Olivier Awards, the British equivalent to Broadway's Tony Awards, it was the theatrical hidden-gems which truly shone out. Proving that Oldies can still pull it out of the bag, the open air production of "Hello Dolly!" scooped up the rightful best revival, in an unexpected twist of fortunes.
The critics stood back in wonder as their under-rated performances rose to the top of the barrel. But with humbled winners basking in their golden-prestige, if these recent British Awards have shocked the stage for anything, it's to never underestimate support for the traditional musical.
With 34 years of stage history riding on its back, the Laurence Olivier Awards are hailed as the creme de la creme for stars old, new and blooming. But if 'all the world's a stage' for Shakespeare, then all eyes were on the Olivier Awards this year. Glued to events, global radio listeners would soon learn Best Director Award landed at the feet of Enron Director, Rupert Goold. Winning over fans, with the gripping story of Wall Street financial fraud, this play was rightfully beamed up to this startling position.
But if you think having waltzed down tinsel-town would have granted you any brownie-points, you'd be wrong. It was an unlucky night for Hollywood. With the spot-light clearly off the movie-based stars, Keira Knightley in her West End debut in 'The Misanthrope', alongside Daniel Day Lewis, missed out of the sort-after Best Actress in a Supporting Role to Ruth Wilson, for her enigmatic performance in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'. Big stars, Jude Law and 'Three Days of Rain' lead actor, James McAvoy also narrowly lost out to the less-known Mark Rylance for 'Jerusalem'.
Wizened by Lord Olivier's past remarks "We ape, we mimic, we mock. We act," some exciting stars emerged as winners in this talented line-up. Best Actress went rightfully to Rachel Weisz, for the revised and replenished new edition of 'A Streetcar Named Desire', penned way back in 1947 by Tennesse Williams. A Southern classic on page and on stage in its own right.
Amidst Surprises galore, Dame Maggie Smith's claim to the Solt Special Award was the only missing element of surprise. But it was the season in-tuned 'Spring Awakening' with broke all the boundaries and expectations, raking in a handful of desired golden-awards, including Best New Musical, Best Musical Actor and Best Set Design. This edgy 2006 rock-musical did lose out however to the much-applauded 'Wicked' for the Most Popular Show Award, judged by the astute audiences themselves.
Even the great Laurence Olivier himself could not have foreseen the turbulent twists-and-turns of these recent London Theatre Awards. Clearly the year of the musical, the oldies proved they still got some life in them, and the under-dogs shook up the movie-stars. Who would have thought it? This only goes to show that nothing is a sure thing in the theatre-world...
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