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The UK’s biggest theatre awards – the Oliviers – are in London this weekend: who will win?

By
Andrzej Lukowski
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The biggest Sunday in UK theatre is upon us: it’s time for the Laurence Olivier Awards, the most prestigious gongs in the industry. But who will win? And should they win? If they shouldn’t win, who should? Check out our surely accurate guide to the major categories.

 

BEST PLAY

Will win ‘The Inheritance’

Should win ‘Sweat’

Matthew Lopez’s epic post-Aids drama ‘The Inheritance’ couldn’t be more the-sort-of-play-that-wins-awards if it tried. And while the show is really good, it's mad that it has eight nominations to just one for ‘Sweat’, Lynn Nottage’s masterpiece about industrial decline in the US. The Oliviers tend to massively favour shows that have run in the West End – and ‘Sweat’ won’t until this summer. Expect ‘The Inheritance’ to gain critical mass, and ‘Sweat’ to be sadly overlooked in its only nominated category.

 

BEST ACTRESS

Will win Patsy Ferran

Should win Patsy Ferran

You may not know the name Patsy Ferran yet, but she is a national treasure waiting to happen and her turn as shy, self-possessed vicar’s daughter Alma in the Almeida’s West End-transferring Tennessee Williams revival ‘Summer and Smoke’ is next-level stuff. It is a very tough category though, and Sophie Okonedo might nick it for the National Theatre’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ – but the smart money is probably on Ferran.

 

BEST MUSICAL

Will win ‘Come from Away’

Should win ‘Fun Home’

Only a monster would begrudge big-hearted 9/11 folk opera ‘Come from Away’ a win. Nonetheless, it would be totally magical if Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s idiosyncratic and heartbreaking coming-of-age musical ‘Fun Home’ got the gong, not least because it might prompt the West End transfer it desperately needs.

 

BEST ACTOR

Will win Kyle Soller

Should win Arinzé Kene

‘The Inheritance’ might have been seven hours of drudgery without Kyle Soller’s compassionate lead to hold it together, but it’s a shame his performance will probably eclipse the hysterically self-lacerating whiz-bang of Arinzé Kene as, er, himself in ‘Misty’. It's brilliant to see him nominated, but probably too weird of a role to actually win anything.

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Will win Marianne Elliott or Stephen Daldry

Should win Rebecca Frecknall

Stephen Daldry (‘The Inheritance’) and Marianne Elliott (‘Company’) have won gazillions of awards in the past, and on Sunday night one of them will almost certainly take home another one for the mantelpiece – great. But newbie Rebecca Frecknall came from – relatively speaking – nowhere with a landmark revival of Tennessee Williams’s ‘Summer and Smoke’ that blew our collective faces off.

 

BEST COMEDY

Will win ‘Nine Night’

Should win Nobody

Natasha Gordon’s debut play ‘Nine Night’ was a brilliant drama with some very funny bits, but it is about as much a comedy as it was a flock of sheep. This category is a hangover from an era when there were simply far more comedies knocking around; it really doesn’t feel fit for purpose anymore. ‘Nine Night’ will hopefully win, but really deserved a crack at Best Play.

The Olivier Awards are at the Royal Albert Hall on Sun Apr 7, 6.45pm. It will be broadcast on ITV, Magic Radio and Facebook.

You can follow our live coverage of the night on Twitter @TimeOutTheatre

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