Iraq war play scoops four Olivier theatre awards

Sun Mar 8, 2009 6:38pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - "Black Watch," a play about a famous Scottish army regiment's deployment to Iraq, won four Laurence Olivier awards on Sunday, more than any other production at the annual celebration of British theater.

The National Theater of Scotland's play, which first wowed audiences and critics in 2006 before its transfer to London's Barbican, walked away with awards for best new play, best director, best theater choreographer and best sound design.

In the original production, the war action centers on the deployment of the Black Watch to the U.S. Marine base of Camp Dogwood on the southern fringe of Baghdad in 2004 to free marines for an attack on Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah.

The play dismisses as farcical the insistence by Britain's then Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon that the deployment was purely military, with no political connotations.

Elsewhere, stage and film star Patrick Stewart won his third Olivier, this time for best performance in a supporting role for his portrayal of Claudius in "Hamlet."

In other acting categories, the best actress title was won by Margaret Tyzack for her performance as the self-obsessed Mrs. St Maugham in "The Chalk Garden."

Derek Jacobi's portrayal of Malvolio in "Twelfth Night" was awarded best actor while Elena Roger was recognized for her role as Edith Piaf in "Piaf," winning best actress in a musical.

Following is a list of the main winners:

- Best actress - Margaret Tyzack (The Chalk Garden)   Continued...