London Theatre's Complete Guide to the Olivier Awards
This weekend the biggest names in theatre will descend on the Royal Albert Hall for the ultimate celebration of British theatre: the Olivier Awards. As the guests prepare for the big night, here’s everything you need to know about the 2018 Olivier Awards, including all our reviews of the nominated shows and interviews with their stars.
What are the Olivier Awards?
Originally known as the Society of West End Theatre Awards, the awards were first given out in 1976 to celebrate excellence in professional London theatre. They were renamed after Laurence Olivier in 1984, and the statues show the actor as he appeared as Henry V at the Old Vic in 1937.
Now in their 42nd year, the Oliviers recognise brilliance across the board, with awards for acting, direction, choreography, lighting, set, costume and lighting design, achievements in dance, opera and music, as well as awards for the best new play, musical, and comedy, and best revival of a play and musical.
When are this year’s Olivier Awards?
This year, the Olivier Awards will take place at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 8th April.
Who are this year’s Olivier Award nominees?
Well, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton leads the way with a record-breaking 13 nominations, but the National’s production of Sondheim’s Follies is hot on its heels with 10. The Ferryman is the most nominated play with 8 nominations, and Angels in America received 6 noms.
Who will be performing at the Olivier Awards?
Performances this year include:
- Chita Rivera with a rendition of the iconic West Side Story number "Somewhere" alongside Andy Karl, Adam J Bernard and the Arts Educational Schools London Choir.
- A celebration of the 50th anniversary of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat featuring Jason Donovan and Linzi Hateley, Lee Mead and Preeya Kalidas, and Joe McElderry and Danielle Hope.
How can I watch the Olivier Awards?
ITV will broadcast the ceremony, which will be hosted by Catherine Tate, at 10.20pm BST on the night (8th April) following the conclusion of the event. This will be simulcast on Facebook for viewers outside the UK.
Magic Radio will broadcast the event live and in full on the 8th April, with coverage beginning at 6pm GMT and hosted by Alice Arnold and Ruthie Henshall.
A live red carpet show and an interval backstage show will be streamed on the Olivier Awards Facebook at 4pm and 7pm respectively.
Who’s going to win?
We don’t know (that’s kind of the point), but last year we looked at the characters played by the winners of the best actor and actress awards in both plays and musicals to find out which roles are the most definitive ways of winning a gong. You can revisit last year’s page by clicking here.
Reviews of Olivier nominated shows
Click the title of the show to read LondonTheatre's review of the nominated production.
|Best new musical|
|An American in Paris||★★★★★||"The show is triumphantly led by Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope as Jerry and Lise, who prove to be effortlessly assured singers and actors as well as brilliant dancers. They - and the show itself - are sheer enchantment."|
|Everybody's Talking About Jamie||★★★★★||"At the heart of it all is a blazingly honest, star-making performance from John McCrea, who perfectly captures the combination of strength and vulnerability at his character's core. "|
|Girl From the North Country||★★★★★||"There are some quietly astonishing performances along the way. Ciairan Hinds as the guesthouse owner and Shirley Henderson as his wife, slipping into dementia, are both just wonderful; while Sheila Atim as their adopted daughter Marianne makes a blazing impression."|
|Hamilton||★★★★★||"This show may be about history, but it also makes history itself: not just in the freshness and vivacity of its rap-based score that could come from the charts today, but also in the colour-blind diversity of its cast."|
|Young Frankenstein||★★★★★||"It's sole function is to be a laughter generator; and as such, it is thoroughly successful, as I just couldn't stop laughing."|
|Best new play|
|The Ferryman||★★★★★||"The cracking dialogue and the richly detailed and finely etched performances of the entire cast, led by film actor Paddy Considine in his confident but unassuming stage debut as Quinn, make you feel like you are living inside the play, not just watching it."|
|Ink||★★★★||"As directed with flair and physicality by Rupert Goold, this a churning great story."|
|Network||★★★||"There's plenty of food for provocative thought here"|
|Oslo||★★★★||"The production is littered with splendid performances, not least from the main negotiators... Peter Polycarpou is excellent as PLO finance minister Ahmed Qurie"|
|Best musical revival|
|42nd Street||★★★★||"This is a show that will certainly tap your troubles away and leaves you beaming from the inside out. Infectious musical theatre joy of the highest calibre."|
|Follies||★★★★★||"The National's utterly spectacular production, with a large neon sign proclaiming Weismann's Follies to be about "glorifying the American girl", is also about glorifying the Broadway musical."|
|On The Town||★★★★★||"It is gorgeously sung and punchily played by Tom Deering's brassy orchestra. But it is the dancing that is the stand-out.."|
|Angels in America||★★★★★||"Richly spiritual and wholeheartedly triumphant this is a production that will sit on your heart and run through your mind for the rest of your life. Beyond unmissable."|
|Hamlet||★★★★★||"Shakespeare lives in the here and now - but also forever, thanks to a production that will become an instant part of theatrical folklore."|
|Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||★★★★★||"This is an amazing production of a contemporary masterpiece, with some of the finest acting we're likely to see on the London stage this year."|
|Witness for the Prosecution||★★★||"It is a nice theatrical experience. William Dudley’s design is faultless, though this grandiose setting does it many a favour. Lucy Bailey’s direction also aids the realistic vibe..."|
Interviews with Olivier nominees
Click the pictures to read interviews with some of this year's Olivier nominees.