Olivier Awards 2015: Where to see the Brightest Stars on the London stage
Excited about the 2015 Olivier Awards? Here's our guide to the Olivier nominated shows and stars you can still see on stage in London this year.
Winners may not have been revealed yet but a quick glance at the nominees shows one theatre as victorious. The Young Vic broke records with four blockbuster productions – A Streetcar Named Desire, Scottsboro Boys, A View From the Bridge and Bull amassing a whopping 11 nominations, the most a single venue has ever received.
And the Young Vic was not the only publicly subsidised theatre that impressed this year: the four Best New Play nominees began at The Royal Court, The Almeida, Chichester Festival Theatre and the RSC. In comparison, the National Theatre's two nominations, both for new musical Here Lies Love, are underwhelming. The West End held its own against publicly funded theatres, but mostly thanks to Broadway imports.
The Olivier nominated shows still showing: the best shows on in London now
While the last curtain has fallen for some of the blockbuster shows of 2015 Olivier nominations, there's still a chance to get your hands on plenty of the hottest tickets.
Book fast to catch our favourite of the Best New Play nominees and the only one still showing: there's still tickets for The Royal Court's breath-taking sci fi thriller, The Nether, which is at Duke of York's Theatre until 25th April.
It's not just Jennifer Haley's searing script that makes The Nether unmissable. The young girls playing Iris have been recognised as stars of tomorrow with a Best Actress in a Supporting Role nomination, David Calder is in the running for Best Actor in a Supporting role, and the awe-inspiring set, combing futuristic digital footage with a fantastical woodland hideaway, has made Es Devlin a worthy contender for Best Set Design.
Those looking for laughs still have time to catch two of this year's Best New Comedy contenders. We've already raved about Shakespeare in Love, and the new cast keep the exuberant energy going. Star-crossed lovers, mistaken identities and a waggy-tailed labradoodle make for a warm and fuzzy treat. For a more hysterical comedy, try The Play that Goes Wrong. Full of farcical disasters and slapstick, it might not have the grace of Shakespeare in Love, but instead it offers fun and belly-laughs for the whole family.
Thanks to the long runs of West End shows, most of the contenders in the Musical categories are still on stage, and all are worth seeing. Our top pick is the most nominated show, Memphis the Musical, which is up for nine awards, including Best Actor and Actress for Killian Donnelly and Beverly Knight and two slots in the Best Supporting Actor in a Musical category. If this doesn't convince you of the sheer quality of this soulful Broadway musical, take it from us: Memphis is a delight, with electrifyingly energetic performances across the board. And as it's booking until 31st October, there's no excuse for missing out.
Another Broadway transfer making waves is Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which has pleasantly surprised those expecting another dreary songbook musical. Scooping eight Olivier nominations, including Best Actress in a Musical for star Katie Brayburn, it's a charming journey through Carole King's classic songs, which doesn't shy away from the complex and conflicted woman that wrote them.
Cameron MacKintosh's Miss Saigon made a triumphant return to the West End last year, and has bagged a Best Musical Revival nomination and Best Actor in a Musical for Jon Jon Biones, who describes the honour as 'unheard of' for someone with his upbringing in the slums of Singapore. The combination of his raw portrayal of the scheming Engineer and the spectacular staging, including a helicopter suspended over the stage, ensure that the heat is very much still on in Saigon.
The best of new British musicals is Sunny Afternoon. The Kinks musical has charmed crowds from its premiere at Hampstead Theatre through the West End. From Ray Davies' musical involvement to dazzling performances from star John Dagleish and supporting actor George Maguire, the show has raked in five nominations. After the extended West End run, ending 24th October, there's whispers that Sunny Afternoon will be on its way to Broadway.
London Play transfers: another chance to see the best of the Oliviers
Also heading across the pond is the Almeida's five star 'future history play' King Charles III. With six Olivier nominations and a triumphant West End transfer, director Rupert Goold has revealed 'it looks pretty likely that we're heading to Broadway. Most thrillingly we're hoping to take pretty much all the English cast with us.'
If you missed out on a coveted ticket to the Donmar's sellout musical revival of City of Angels, chances are you didn't miss the superlative reviews. Such was the hype surrounding this slick production, we predicted a West End transfer. Now, the City of Angels designer Rob Jones has got us feeling hopeful: 'it deserves to be in the West End,' he says. 'It’s getting those people back together, but it’s always possible. Everyone would love it to live on.'
And for families, Hetty Feather, the exuberant stage adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson's novel will be coming back to the West End this summer. Our little critic was enraptured by the feisty, flame-haired heroine and the grown ups were impressed by the circus skills and empowering narrative.
Olivier stars on stage: what's next for the nominees?
The design mastermind behind The Nether, Es Devlin is hot property in theatre at the moment. She'll be adding her golden touch to The National Theatre's Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, opening April 15th, then Devlin will be designed 2015's most feverishly-anticipated production: Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet at The Barbican.
Imelda Staunton is in the running for Best Actress for her starring role in Good People at Hampstead Theatre & Noel Coward Theatre, but you can get a dose of her star power by booking to see Gypsy the Muscial. A hit at Chichester, the revival has come to London with a flurry of superlative reviews showing that Staunton is as masterful as ever.
Finally, Ivo Van Hove, who's reputation as theatre maker of the moment is cemented by a nomination for Best Director (A View From the Bridge), will be making more waves at the Young Vic in 2015. He's teaming up with playwright Simon Stephens in Song From Far Away, a new drama about love and loss that arrives at the Young Vic in September for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it run.
The Oliver Awards Ceremony London 2015 will take place on Sunday 12 April at the Royal Opera House. The highlights will be broadcast from 10:15pm on ITV.