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ENTERTAINMENT
29 Apr 2013
OLIVIERS: MIRREN CROWNED BEST ACTRESS, CURIOUS INCIDENT WINS SEVEN

Accepting her prize for The Audience, Oscar-winner Dame Helen joked it was the Queen herself who deserved a prize.

The monarch, she said, had delivered "the most consistent and committed performance of the 20th Century, and probably the 21st Century".

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won seven awards, equalling musical Matilda's record win in 2012.

The National Theatre adaptation of Mark Haddon's 2003 murder mystery was named best play and also saw its star Luke Treadaway named best actor.

His co-star Nicola Walker was crowned best supporting actress, while Richard McCabe was named best supporting actor for his role as Harold Wilson opposite Dame Helen in The Audience.

McCabe said Dame Helen was a joy to work with in the Peter Morgan play. "It's important as an actor to be absolutely fearless and she is," he said.

Sheridan Smith and Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville hosted the awards, held at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.

Treadaway's award came for his role as 15-year-old Christopher Boone, a maths genius with Asperger syndrome who sets out to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour's dog.

"This is for everyone who worked on the show," said the 28-year-old, who accepted his award from Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall.

"I can't believe it," he added. "This is absolutely amazing."

Other award recipients included Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, named best actor and actress in a musical for their respective roles as the demonic barber and the pie-making Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd.

The classic tale of terror and revenge, which ran at London's Adelphi Theatre last year, also picked up best musical revival, beating A Chorus Line, Cabaret and Kiss Me Kate.

"I'm delighted to accept this on behalf of all of us," said the show's director Jonathan Kent. "This was one of those lucky productions that was so enjoyable to rehearse and entirely satisfying to do."

Best new musical went to Hollywood feel-good show Top Hat, currently running at the Aldwych. The musical, a celebration of 1930s song and dance, was also honoured for its choreography and costume design.

Broadway actress Leigh Zimmerman received the award for best supporting role in a musical for her role in the London revival of A Chorus Line at the Palladium.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - adapted from Haddon's novel by Simon Stephens - premiered at the National Theatre last year and has now transferred to the Apollo.

Walker was recognised for playing the lead character's guilt-ridden mother, while Marianne Elliott took home best director.

Accepting the supporting actress award, Walker said: "My agent told me to breathe if I won, and my husband told me not to swear.

"Every single day of rehearsals and every single performance was a prize, so this is completely overwhelming," added the former Spooks actress.

The show was also honoured for its lighting, set and sound design.

Long-running musical Billy Elliot was presented with the Radio 2 Audience Award, voted for by the public, having been nominated in the category for the previous two years.

Special awards were presented to Gillian Lynne, whose choreography credits include more than 50 shows, among them Cats and The Phantom of The Opera.

Playwright and novelist Michael Frayn also received a special accolade, saying it was a "great honour" to be recognised.

The Barbican's Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson came top in the best new opera production, beating the English National Opera's Billy Budd, Caligula and La Traviata.

Best new dance production went to the Royal Ballet's Aeternum, with principal dancer Marienela Nunez recognised for her outstanding achievement in dance for her performances with the Royal Ballet.

Smith, a two-time Olivier winner, opened the show at the Royal Opera House with a performance of Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, choreographed by Arlene Philips.

The prestigious awards, named after theatrical giant Lord Olivier and first held in 1976, are presented annually by the Society of London Theatre.

source: www.bbc.co.uk

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