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Love London Love Culture reflects on the Olivier Awards 2020

While it has taken a while for the winners of this years awards to be announced, there was plenty to be celebrated – as well as a strong reminder of the power of theatre. Emma Clarendon selects some of her favourite winners.

This year’s awards ceremony might have been radically different and in some respects felt a little more sombre than in previous years given the perilous position that the industry is in – but it still felt like a celebration.

It has to be said that this year’s Oliviers also felt a bit more diverse in its winners, with the play Emilia, Dear Evan Hansen and & Juliet walking away with three awards each – there was no one big winner going away with an extraordinary amount which was somewhat refreshing to see.

On a personal basis, I was really pleased for Miriam-Teak Lee getting Best Actress in a Musical for & Juliet. Her performance is just so bright and wonderful throughout, combined with natural vocals that allow her to put a unique spin on songs such as ‘Baby One More Time’ (which she also performed at the ceremony). I was also delighted for her co-stars Cassidy Janson and David Bedella, winning Best Supporting Actress and Actor in a musical retrospectively – both have a wonderful comic timing for their roles that are just a joy to watch.

Elsewhere, I was pleased to see Trevor Nunn’s revival of Fiddler on the Roof taking home the Best Musical Revival Award. Such a stunning production when it was at the Menier and then taken to another level when it transferred to the Playhouse Theatre – it really deserves another watch for its attention to detail. Equally, Jamie Lloyd’s production of Cyrano De Bergerac was another deserved winner for Best Revival of a Play – a lively and suitably unique production that really stood out.

Another powerful production which deserved its awards, was Miranda Cromwell and Marianne Elliott’s production of Death of A Salesman, winning Best Actress in a Play for Sharon D Clarke, and Best Direction of a Play. Having managed to see it before lockdown, it was certainly a real highlight production of the year.

Tinged with a little bit of sadness, yes this year’s ceremony didn’t feel the same and was a little bit flat. However, it is a reminder of just what this industry has to offer – we can only hope that the government were watching and taking on board the many passionate pleas from those in the industry not to forget about the freelancers who put so much work into the industry that they love.

By Emma Clarendon

from News, Reviews and Features – My Theatre Mates

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