The Olivier Awards 2014

Beware a lot of rambling about last night’s awards ceremony coming up. But I guess that is the reason for this blog, to ramble to people who may be interested (or not as the case may be).

2013 was not a big theatre going year for me, too many other things were happening, so I didn’t get to see many of the nominees, and as I have said before I don’t ‘review’, I don’t want to pitch one production with another as everything I see at the theatre is marvellous *wink. However If you saw my tweets last night you would know that I was routing for Merrily We Roll Along as I was seriously wowed by that production when I saw it this time last year. So much so I also went to the Cinema to see it courtesy of Digital Theatre and yes I have downloaded it as well.

For me the Oliviers are all about celebrating productions and bringing the theatre world to the masses. Prepare for rant.

The Olivier Awards were not shown on TV for many years and I am certain that many people fought very hard to get them reinstated.

In 2011 they were back on our TVs albeit on the BBC’s red button. We were all very excited but it was shocking coverage. Jodie Prenger, new in her career was entrusted with interviewing on the red carpet, very enthusiastic but unfortunately not coming across professional or knowledgeable. Worst yet, instead of covering the awards and the performances or the glitz and glamour, all we got was live coverage of the Radio Two coverage with Paul Gambaccini and Matt Wolf in a dressing room interviewing various folk seemingly unaware of what on earth was going on in the theatre itself. At least things have moved on from there.

Mangan Arterton
Stephen Mangan and Gemma Arterton – hosts of the 2014 Olivier Awards

In 2012 the Piazza Party was born! The Awards Ceremony was streamed live to a crowd in Covent Garden and the lucky crowd were to get extra live performances as well. I swore I would go the following year however in 2013 I was sat at home and listened to the live broadcast on radio 2 with a glass of wine as finally the highlights were being televised for the first time on ITV. I was disapponted though that the highlights programme missed out many of the performances. and awards – again  a vow to go to the Piazza in 2014.

So where was I this year? Travelling south from a weekend away. Clash of dates, couldn’t believe it when I realised, particularly as I was meant to be cheering on a friend in the London Marathon that morning too. So at 6pm I turned on the radio and……..nothing! No coverage! Luckily I wasn’t driving so I checked and realised that there will be a special radio programme dedicated to it on the 19th. Isn’t that a bit late? Surely the surprise element will have gone by then? Thank God for Twitter even though 3G was rubbish on the M25 and I kept missing posts for 10mins at a time but at least I was able to keep up with the awards.

I would like to thank @olivierawards @west_end_frame @pocketsizeboy and @guardianstage amongst others for keeping me informed enroute and once I got home.  ITV had obviously listened to comments/complaints made last year regarding the highlights programme because this year’s featured all of the awards, performances and a couple of the piazza performances as well, however this year the complaints revolved around not being able to hear the speeches, which I tend to agree with (The ‘Best New Play’ was almost lost – it was ‘Chimerica’ by the way).

I know, I know….they can’t win.

Jenna Russell, Damian Humbley and Mark Umbers in Merrily We Roll AlongThey can. Come on, I know theatre adoring public aren’t necessarily the top priority for TV companies, but there are enough channels nowadays that surely we can be mollified. If it is being streamed to the lucky crowd in Covent Garden it can be streamed to us at home, somehow, somewhere, either on a red button or other digital channel. We would love to see the whole ceremony PLUS what goes on outside. There is certainly a place for all performances to be put together in a highlights programme, after all we are meant to be promoting theatre to non theatre-goers….More not less! Please.

While I am ranting (again), please feature more of the new shows that need a bit of pubicity. Unfortunately by the time the Oliviers are upon us sometimes these wonderful shows have already closed. I am certainly not putting down Phantom, Les Mis, Wicked etc which are all crowd pullers and really really are amazing! Again I ask, more not less.

I presume that IF you are reading this blog you are interested in theatre and my take on it. No doubt you will know the winners / losers already. Glad to say that Merrily DID win the Best Musical Revival reward but Jenna Russell and Maria Friedman missed out on their awards. Once, The Book of Mormon, Chimerica and Ghosts were the big winners of the night.

You can find a list of all the winners here.

And a gallery of official pictures here.

And yes…..sigh……the downside of the whole event is……

My list of things I must see has doubled.

Teehee – remember when they were called the Ernies? Urnies? That was in my EARLY days of theatre going.

My Highlight – Definitely Bernadette Peters – Superb!

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