March 8, 2009 / 10:43 PM / 10 years ago

Iraq war play scoops four Olivier theatre awards

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)

- Best actor - Derek Jacobi (Twelfth Night)

- Best supporting performance - Patrick Stewart (Hamlet)

- Best company performance - The Histories

- Best new play - Black Watch by Gregory Burke

- Best new comedy - God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza

- Best revival - The Histories

- Best entertainment - La Clique

- Best new musical - Jersey Boys

- Best musical revival - La Cage Aux Folles

- Best actress in musical - Elena Roger (Piaf)

- Best actor in musical - Douglas Hodge (La Cage Aux Folles)

- Best supporting performance in musical - Lesli Margherita (Zorro)

- Best director - John Tiffany (Black Watch)

- Best new opera production - Partenope (English National Opera)

- The Society’s special award - Alan Ayckbourn.

(Writing by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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