OLIVIERS 2012: Live Blog As It Happened - Big Wins For MATILDA!
So! That's it for the 2012 Olivier Awards. It's been an epic night for Matilda (the four little girls winning Best Actress was probably my highlight, to be honest, and I'm pretty allergic to children in musicals), and they'll grab the headlines. But don't forget the recognition of the work done at the Donmar, the National and at Regent's Park. What did you think of the winners? Deserved - or was someone robbed? Let me know in the comments.
And on that note - I'll see you same place, same time next year!
9.12pm: And our closing performance for the evening is from The Lion King - not nominated this year, but it's a continuation of the celebration of Sir Tim's work.
9.10pm: Staunton and Ball are starting to wrap it all up now, including a well-timed comedy plug for Sweeney Todd.
9.09pm: He makes a gracious (and mercifully short and well-structured) speech, thanking his former collaborators and with a gallant nod to Paige's performance. Nicely done.
9.03pm: Paige makes a lot of innuendo about her former squeeze before welcoming Sir Tim Rice to the stage for his acceptance speech.
8.57pm: Elaine Paige sings Don't Cry For Me, Argentina. She looks very happy.
8.56pm: Andrew Lloyd Webber makes an appearance via video link to tell Tim Rice that he's sorry he's not there, but he's making a TV show "that I know you won't approve of", ie Superstar.
8.53pm: That was exciting. Cue all the debates about whether or not Chess will ever make a successful West End return. If it does, they'll cast Florence and Svetlana a generation and a half younger than McCarthy and Friedman, I suspect.
8.50pm: And the final award is the second special award, which goes to Sir Tim Rice. Siobhan McCarthy and Maria Friedman...are going to sing I KNOW HIM SO WELL!
8.47pm: The penultimate award is for Best New Play, and Tyne Daly comes back to present it. She seems as puzzled to be reprising her presenting role as everyone else is to see her there. The award goes to Collaborators, following a weird interlude where Daly says, "Laurence. Olivier."
8.41pm: Jim Carter, Imelda Staunton's husband, accompanies Barbara Windsor hand-in-hand to the stage. "BARBARA WINDSOR AND MY HUSBAND!" shouts La Staunton. They're here to present Best New Musical - to Matilda, obviously. "I just kissed Barbara Windsor!" squeals Dennis Kelly. Tim Minchin pays handsome tribute to all the other nominees, and also thanks the two Matildas who originated the role out-of-town but didn't transfer "due to growing".
8.36pm: Ronan and Kimba are back to present Best Actress in a Musical to the Matildas. They all go crazy, bless their little hearts. I could actually cry. They are so excited none of them can get their words out. One of them shouts, "BREATHE, CLEO, BREATHE!" at Cleo Demetriou, the first one to get a shot at the mic.
8.34pm: Right, back to reality. Hayley Atwell, spilling out of a very tight dress, is going to present Best Actor in a Musical - to Bertie Carvel of Matilda, which is probably the most expected and most deserved result of the evening. He says that the last time he was nominated for the award, Michael Ball won it - for playing a woman. Carvel is an extraordinary actor and a nice man - have a read of my interview with him, conducted when Matilda was out in Stratford and about to transfer.
8.30pm: He's now joined by Kimberley Walsh (Princess Fiona in Shrek, and one-fifth of Girls Aloud) to sing No Matter What. It is not good. Keating is not in tune. Walsh sounds a little thin and reedy.
8.27pm: Apparently Ronan Keating is this year's special surprise guest. He is singing I'll Never Fall In Love Again (from Promises, Promises, which is not currently running in London), and breathing in the middle of words. Singers in the audience must be cringing. Is this a public audition for some forthcoming role? Expect to see Keating as Billy Flynn some time soon, then.
8.25pm: Time for Best Musical Revival, finally, and it goes to Crazy For You.