Thoughts on the Olivier Awards

Well, the Olivier Awards happened – amirite?

The glitzy and glam annual event awarding and celebrating the very best in West End theatre took place on Sunday, and I spent my evening eating Bourbon biscuits in bed scrolling various social media feeds, feeling very intense FOMO at all my blogger friends and social media acquaintances (aka cool people I like to stalk) who were actually THERE. Who actually heard Amber Riley sing live (to be fair I’ve already done that) and revel in the joy of Cursed Child receiving NINE AWARDS.

I mean, I could have forked out on a £70 ticket, but I also need to save up for a deposit for next year. Do I regret this decision? Yes, a bit.

We all know who won, and I don’t think I have any massive academic contribution to the event, but I thought I’d chip in anyway with a couple of thoughts I have about the event. You know, because I can.

Firstly, why aren’t the Oliviers broadcast on television like every other awards ceremony in the world??? We see the entirety of the BRITs live every single year with red carpet coverage, so why not the Oliviers? The awards ceremony is just as prestigious, and the performances throughout the evening are stunning. If anything, having the Oliviers live on TV would perhaps encourage young people to go to the theatre, or make them feel like they had more access to the theatre world. Of course, this year highlights of the evening are being broadcast on ITV, but on Tuesday. This is TWO DAYS after the event and feels a tad too late. When watching, you can’t feel the sense of anticipation of what name will be in the envelope, unless you are very good at avoiding social media and the news, but that’s not possible really. Hopefully this is a start, and within a few years they will be broadcast live on television, as and when it happens…even if it is a few years too late.

As mentioned above, the big talk of the evening was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child winning nine awards, making it the most Olivier-lauded production in history. That’s a pretty big feat, and my hats go off to the entire production team, cast, and audiences, for their hard work and efforts. I saw the production back in October  and absolutely loved it, despite my earlier worries about it. It’s amazing how many people this show has brought to the theatre, dare I say it…magical (ey, ey?)
I feel awful saying it, I really do, as I love the show so much, but I am a little bit gutted it won so many awards. It just felt a bit obvious. It’s also such a shame considering the other wonderful shows which were also worthy winners and maybe needed that extra boost of an award to get new people in to see it. Alas, that’s the nature of awards shows; unfortunately not everyone you’d like to win, can.

Take Half A Sixpence for instance, a show I really need to see again after only seeing the press night back in November. A beautiful dance-based show with impeccable choreography by Andrew Wright somehow didn’t even score a nomination! Charlie Stemp’s non-win for Best Actor in a Musical also surprised me, along with many others, due to rave reviews for a him being a complete triple threat. However, I did not see Andy Karl’s performance in Groundhog Day so I cannot compare. There was also an interesting and shocking revelation about the writers of Sixpence (Stiles and Drewe) not being invited to the ceremony, despite the show being nominated in some capacity in three categories. More on that is found in Willy Mukendi-Wood’s post on the MTAS blog, which can be read here.

I love the Oliviers, I really do. I just wish they were covered as widely as the Oscars or the BRITs and that a couple more categories were added – such as best Musical Director, best understudy (especially after Natasha Barnes’ turn as Fanny following Sheridan Smith’s leave of absence in Funny Girl last year), or even UK Tour, as there are so many wonderful musicals and plays touring at the moment which deserve to be recognised.

Yes. So. Those were my little chatty thoughts about the Oliviers. What do you think about it all?



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