Helen Mirren and 'Curious Incident' reign at Olivier Awards
Play about boy with Asperger's dominates, but Mirren tribute to Queen gets night's biggest cheers
WEST END hit The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time dominated the Olivier Awards last night by winning seven trophies. But Helen Mirren earned the biggest cheer when she praised the Queen's "consistent and committed performance" after being named Best Actress for her portrayal of the British monarch in The Audience.
"It does not mean that I was the best," said Dame Helen, who picked up her first Olivier award at last night's ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London. "There are so many incredible performances out there including many that weren't even nominated. It's a reflection of the kind of respect that the Queen is held in."
The National Theatre's adaptation of Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won a record-equalling seven awards. They included Best New Play and Best Actor for 28-year-old Luke Treadaway's "astonishing performance" as 15-year-old maths genius Christopher Boone.
Treadaway was up against some stiff competition in the category including Rupert Everett in The Judas Kiss and Mark Rylance in Twelfth Night.
The Times points out that the success of the stage adaptation of Curious Incident was far from assured, despite the fact that the book sold more than two million copies in the UK. Haddon described his book as "unfilmable" and a BBC television adaptation was scotched because the task of showing a world "purely from the perspective of a boy with Asperger's" was found to be too difficult.
Asked why his performance had struck a chord with audiences, Treadaway said: "I think people can connect with it. People can see themselves in [the character] at times. Christopher is scared and anxious, but a lot of the time he's the most incredibly brave soldier as he goes on his journey to London."
Curious Dog, which equalled the seven awards won by the musical Matilda last year, also won Best Supporting Actress (Nicola Walker), Best Director (Marianne Elliott), set design (Bunny Christie), lighting (Paule Constable) and sound (Adrian Sutton). The production continues the National Theatre's "impressive form" in successfully transferring shows such as War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors to the West End, says The Guardian.
In the musical category, Sweeney Todd took the three most important prizes, including Best Musical Revival. Michael Ball, in the title role, was named Best Actor in a Musical, while Imelda Staunton, his co-star, won Best Actress in a Musical.
Main winners at the 37th Olivier Awards:
Best new play: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best new musical: Top Hat
Best play revival: Long Day's Journey Into Night
Best actor: Luke Treadaway/The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best Actress: Helen Mirren/The Audience
Best supporting actor: Richard McCabe/The Audience
Best supporting actress: Nicola Walker/The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time
Best Director: Marianne Elliott/The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Best actor in a musical: Michael Ball/Sweeney Todd
Best actress in a musical: Imelda Staunton/Sweeney Todd
Best entertainment and family: Goodnight Mister Tom
New dance production: Aeternum by the Royal Ballet
New opera production: Einstein on the Beach by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass
Outstanding achievement in opera: Bryan Hymel