‘Cabaret’, starring Eddie Redmayne, sweeps the Olivier Awards

LONDON – The revival of “Cabaret” has been the talk of the London theater world since its opening in December, which on Sunday swept past the Olivier Awards, Britain’s equivalent of Tonys.

Starring Eddie Redmayne in his first London role in a decade, “Cabaret” collected seven awards in a ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Its journey includes Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Redmayne), Best Actress in a Musical for Jessie Buckley as Sally Bowles, and directing. Best Performance for Rebecca Frecknall.

Critics of the British press sometimes struggle to find superlatives to describe “Cabaret.” Nick Curtis, written on The Evening Standard, summed it up with a simple sentence: “Wow. Just wow. ”

Matt Wolf, review the show for The New York Timessays Frecknall has had a “remarkable foray into the musical scene” following a number of lauded theatrical productions here, including Chekhov’s “Three Sisters“And” by Tennessee Williams “Summer and smoke. “Frecknall pulled us into a world of pleasure, only to leave us almost three hours later reminded of the terrible things in life,” he added.

The musical has garnered much attention for its staging and performances, with spectators entering the Playhouse Theater through a side door, only to discover the building has been transformed to looks like a nightclub in Berlin in the 1920s. Ticket sellers – some of them criticized sky high ticket prices – have to pass a maze of corridors full of dancers and drinks to get to a seat.

Among the actors in the original cast, Redmayne has earned particular acclaim. Arifa Akbar, written in The Guardiansaid he’s “electric”, adding: “He delivers a superb performance, materialized, both muscular and refined, from the twitching limbs to the expressively taut fingertips cold.”

Sunday’s other big winner was “Life of Pi” at the Wyndham Theatre, Lolita Chakrabarti’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s novel about the son of a zookeeper who, after a transportation accident, trapped on a lifeboat at sea with only companion animals. It received five awards including best new play and best lead actor for Hiran Abeysekera, as well as a popular best supporting actor award for seven puppeteers carrying a child 44-pound puppet tiger took the stage.

Reviewers often single out those puppeteers for praise. Dominic Cavendish, Writing in The Daily Telegraphsaid they made the tiger exude “precautionary ferocity and innate beauty”, as it “transformed from brute-force threat to character in its own right”.

Several other shows have won awards at Oliviers. “Back to the Future: the Musical” at the Adelphi Theater, a show that has attracted attention for its flying car as much as its songs, winning best new musical, beating shows including “Get Up! Stand up! The Bob Marley Musical” and the London premiere of “Frozen”.

The best comedy goes to “Pride and Prejudice * (* sort of)At the Criterion Theatre, a quick and loose retelling of Jane Austen’s novel, Closed in February citing the lack of audiences returning to the West End.

Another notable winner is the revival of “Constellation” by the Donmar Warehouse at the Vaudeville Theater, which received awards for best revival and best lead actress in a play for Sheila Atim. That 70-minute one-act play, about a couple passionately in love, was a huge hit last summer when theater in England came to life after multiple lockdowns.

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