Britain’s biggest theatre awards, the Oliviers, take place this weekend at the Royal Opera House. Andrzej Lukowski offers a guide to the runners and riders in the most exciting awards in recent history.
The hometown hero
British as a bulldog lapping a pint of warm ale (if only the songs weren’t written by Americans), Sam Mendes’s musical of Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is a homegrown success that’s done some very serious business at the box office – exactly the sort of show the Oliviers reward.
What will it win? Best Actor in a Musical (Douglas Hodge); Best Set Design (Mark Thompson).
The Yankee challenger
The Yankee challenger Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s hypetastic comedy ‘The Book of Mormon’ is nominated for fewer awards at the 2014 Oliviers (six) than it won at the 2011 Tonys (nine). That’s not to say we like it less than the Americans, just that we don’t bang on about it so much.
What will it win? Best New Musical; Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Stephen Ashfield).
Lucy Kirkwood’s epic thriller ‘Chimerica’ was the new play of 2013, and is up against hilariously weak competition in that category. It’ll spatter its immediate rivals, but the slightly dispiriting lack of nominations for its noncelebrity cast means it won’t dominate.
What will it win? Best New Play; Best Director (Lyndsey Turner).
The old chestnut
‘Chimerica’ aside, the play categories are basically contested by name actors and well-worn classical theatre. Of these, Richard Eye’s devastatingly intense take on Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts’ really stands out.
What will it win? Best Revival; Best Actress (Lesley Manville).
The dark horse
The Young Vic’s brooding civil rights musical ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ is an outside bet against box office goliaths ‘Charlie’, ‘Mormon’ and ‘Once’. Don’t write it off, though: reviews were rapturous, a West End transfer is happening, and the Oliviers may want to salute the final work of legendary writers Kander and Ebb.
What might it win? Best New Musical; Best Director (Susan Stroman).
The Olivier Awards 2014 TV highlights are tonight (Sun Apr 13) at 10.15pm on ITV. Here’s the full list of this year’s nominations.