The stars came out last night for the 39th Society of London Theatre Awards which honour the cream of the Capital’s productions. Hosted by Lenny Henry, amidst the glamour of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the show opened with a knockout performance from Katie Brayben, who went on to claim Best Actress In A Musical for her performance in Beautiful –The Carole King Musical.
Beautiful’s Lorna Want also won best Supporting Actress in A Musical, but the night belonged to Sunny Afternoon, The Kinks’ Musical. John Dagleish (who plays Ray Davies in the show) won Best Actor In A Musical, George Maguire won Best Supporting Actor In A Musical, and the show itself won the highly coveted Best New Musical Award –with Ray Davies collecting the award for Outstanding Achievement In Music.
In the other major Musical category, The This Morning Audience Award, the only award voted for by the public, Wicked saw off fierce competition from Billy Elliot The Musical, Jersey Boys and Matilda The Musical –with the show’s Emma Hatton delighting the record crowds outside in the Piazza by performing “The Wizard And I.”
But there was one more Musical surprise left in store. Kevin Spacey, who collected the Special Award for his ten year stint as Artistic Director at the Old Vic (a decade that has seen the fortunes for the theatre completely transformed under his stewardship) acknowledged the role that music played in the life of West End theatre (and the evening’s festivities) by bringing the house down by singing a duet with Beverley Knight of Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water. The Royal Opera House Covent Garden has been home to a myriad of magical musical events over the last couple of centuries, but last night’s Oliver Awards, with its energy, diversity and sheer joy in performance, must have been up there with the best of them
Check out the shows for yourself by booking one of our great value theatre breaks!