Caveat for the whole post: I haven’t yet seen Everybody’s Talking About Jamie or The Ferryman… I’ve also omitted the categories in which I’ve not seen more than one of the productions.
These are editor Emma’s thoughts, feelings and even some predictions for the Olivier Awards, which take place on Sunday 8th April.
While Hamilton could sweep the board on Sunday evening, there are a fair few other productions which are nominated in several categories. While I haven’t seen every production nominated (and it’s really shown me up for the Musical fiend that I am!), I thought I’d share my thoughts on a few of the categories:
Best New Musical
- I found that An American In Paris bordered on boring at times, certainly as a ‘musical’ as it was very much a dance production in parts, and Young Frankenstein while very funny is definitely not one of the best shows in town right now. I find it almost a shame that Girl From The North Country and Hamilton are in the same category here because they are incomparable and so wonderful in their own ways. I think Hamilton will win, but I really think that this is a classic case where Girl From The North Country will lose out purely because it opened in the same season as a worldwide hit.
- Hamilton is such a work of art that I struggle to see how anything could be directed any better than that. However, Ink was wonderful and I haven’t seen the other shows in the list. It’s another one where I kind of hope Hamilton doesn’t win… not because it’s not wonderful, but because it doesn’t need the hype.
Best Set Design
- The set of Ink blew my mind. From the Front Row, I could have sat and looked at it for another two hours. An American in Paris was very impressive, but they certainly had a bit of an easier task. Follies was impressive, but I felt that it was a little too dark and a little uninteresting for the complexity of the story. I really hope Ink isn’t overlooked in this category, but for wow-factor I do think An American In Paris or Follies might win.
Best Costume Design
- I actually don’t particularly think that Hamilton deserves to win this one. Follies was beautiful but as I remember, they were simply beautiful dresses. 42nd street, though, is impressive in every aspect of its costume design. They’d certainly get my vote.
Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre
- Despite having not seen it myself, having read the reviews of B*easts at the Bush Theatre, I truly believe that this show deserves to win an award.
Best Actress in a Musical
- Shirley Henderson in Girl From The North Country at the Noel Coward theatre is one of the single best performances I have ever seen on the stage. Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee were excellent, but they didn’t blow my socks off or do anything which surprised me in Follies. There’s a theme here – Follies was on a huge stage, with a star studded cast, and as such I wasn’t struck by anything overly imaginative or groundbreaking in any aspect of the production.
Best Actor in a Musical
- I’m not sure we can go this long without Hamilton securing another award.
Best Musical Revival
- If 42nd Street isn’t the best musical revival this year, I honestly don’t know what they’d have to do to make anyone look upon them more favourably. Follies may win favour among an older generation, perhaps, and the ‘names’ in it and the fact it was at the National probably gives it a leg-up, but I really hope that 42nd Street comes out on top.
Best Theatre Choreographer
- I was entirely underwhelmed by An American In Paris. While the Ballet was beautiful and the choreography on the whole a spectacle, it is completely overshadowed in my view by the sheer speed in 42nd street and choreography like we have never seen before in Hamilton.
Outstanding Achievement in Music
- In a Musical Theatre world where there are jukebox musicals opening more often than a lot of us would like, Girl From The North Country‘s achievement in music is a breath of fresh air. Its reworking of Bob Dylan’s music enables it to tell a beautiful story with their use of the voices in the production and the subtle choreography put to the music. While Hamilton is wonderful and some would say breaking completely new ground, we have seen In The Heights in London and it is certainly not dissimilar.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical
- As wonderful as Lesley Joseph is in Young Frankenstein, I highly doubt that her performances deserves an Olivier. I really hope this goes to either Rachel John, who I was surprisingly impressed by in Hamilton, or Sheila Atim, who brought such a beautiful dimension to Girl From The North Country, she held audience attention for every second she was on the stage.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
- A slightly unpopular opinion, I actually think that despite Michael Jibson’s tiny amount of stage time, he brings an unprecedented amount of comedy value to Hamilton. I think his portrayal of King George is hilarious. If Ross Noble wins this category I will eat my hat – it really does feel like a given that Hamilton will receive this award.