28 April 2013
Last updated at 16:35 ET
Simon Stephens’ murder mystery premiered at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe Theatre last year
Murder mystery The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has taken seven prizes at this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, equalling musical hit Matilda’s record win in 2012.
They included best play and best actor for Luke Treadaway.
Helen Mirren won best actress for her role as the Queen in Peter Morgan’s play, The Audience, while Richard McCabe received best supporting actor.
Sheridan Smith and Hugh Bonneville hosted the awards at Covent Garden.
Accepting the best actress honour, Mirren joked that it was the Queen who deserved an award, “for the most consistent and committed performance of the 20th century, and probably the 21st century”.
She also thanked the play’s director Stephen Daldry and Morgan “for the most elegant witty play” and paid tribute to her fellow cast members who “give me energy as I sit there and enjoy their brilliance every night”.
The Audience co-star Richard McCabe, who won the supporting actor honour for his role as Prime Minister Harold Wilson, said Mirren was a joy to work with.
“It’s important as an actor to be absolutely fearless, and she is,” he said.
Curious Incident’s Luke Treadaway took best actor for his role as 15-year-old Christopher Boone, a maths genius with Asperger syndrome, who sets out to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog.
“This is for everyone who worked on the show,” said the 28-year-old, who accepted his award from Kim Cattrall. “I can’t believe it. This is absolutely amazing!” he added.
Other award recipients included Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton who were crowned best actor and actress in a musical, for their respective roles as the demonic barber, and the pie-making Mrs Lovett, in Sweeney Todd.
The classic tale of terror and revenge, which closed at the Adelphi Theatre in September last year also picked up best musical revival, beating A Chorus Line, Cabaret and Kiss Me, Kate.
“I’m delighted to accept this on behalf of all of us,” said director Jonathan Kent. “This was one of those lucky productions that was so enjoyable to rehearse and entirely satisfying to do.”
Best new musical went to Hollywood feel-good show Top Hat, currently running at the Aldwych Theatre. The musical, a celebration of 1930s song and dance was also honoured for its choreography and costume design.
Broadway actress Leigh Zimmerman received the award for best supporting role in a musical for her role as Sheila in the London revival of A Chorus Line at the Palladium.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – adapted from Mark Haddon’s novel, by Simon Stephens – premiered at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe Theatre last year and has now transferred to London’s Apollo Theatre.
Nicola Walker, who plays the lead character Boone’s guilt-ridden mother won best supporting actress while Marianne Elliott took home best director.
The show was also recognised for its lighting, set and sound design.
Accepting the supporting actress award, Walker said: “My agent told me to breathe if I won, and my husband told me not to swear!”
Walker plays Boone’s guilt-ridden mother in Curious Incident
Third time lucky
Thanking Elliott, Stephens and her fellow cast members, the former Spooks actress added: “The thing about Curious Incident [is] – every single day of rehearsals and every single performance was a prize, so this is completely overwhelming.”
Billy Elliot The Musical, showing at Victoria Palace Theatre was presented with the Radio 2 Audience Award, voted for by the public, having been nominated in the category for the previous two years.
Special awards were presented to actress Gillian Lynne whose choreography credits include more than 50 shows including Cats and The Phantom of The Opera.
She was joined by playwright and novelist Michael Frayn who described the “great honour” at being recognised.
The Barbican Theatre’s Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson came top in the best new opera production, beating the English National Opera’s Billy Budd, Caligula and La Traviata.
Best new dance production went to the Royal Ballet’s Aeternum with principal dancer Marienela Nunez recognised for her outstanding achievement in dance for performances with the Royal Ballet.
Smith, a two-time Olivier award winner opened the show at the Royal Opera House with a performance of Diamond’s are a Girl’s Best Friend, choreographed by Arlene Philips.
The prestigious awards, named after theatrical giant Lord Olivier and first held in 1976, are presented annually by the Society of London Theatre.
The full list of 2013 winners can be found on the Olivier Awards website.