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Literary adaptations clean up at awards

20th February 2012

A host of literary adaptations scooped the top honours at this year's awards, one of the most prestigious events in the theatre industry calendar.

One of the biggest winners on the night was the stage version of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, which picked up the Best West End Show gong and continues the tremendous success of the beloved story across literature, film and theatre.

The acclaimed musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda was also honoured, scooping the Best New Musical prize, while Tim Minchin, who adapted the classic children's tale for the stage, received the London Newcomer of the Year award.

There was also joy for Danny Boyle, who picked up the Best Director gong for his stage version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, though the production's lead actors Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch missed out on the Best Actor award, which went to James Corden for his performance in Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors.

An adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters, the production also won the Best New Comedy prize and will shortly transfer to Broadway, while London's Haymarket will stage a production with an all-new cast.

In his humorous acceptance speech, Bean revealed the National Theatre had called him earlier in the day and asked him to mention the fact that the show is moving down the road.

'They wouldn't do that to Alan Bennett. The cheapest ticket is £15 - don't buy that one. Unless you like staring at marble close-up, listening to a radio play,' he said.

Meanwhile, the coveted Theatre Event of the Year Award went to the reuniting of former Doctor Who co-stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing at the Wyndham Theatre, which also picked up the prize for Best Shakespearean Production.

Collecting the latter award, director Josie Rourke commented: 'Thank you for making a play written in 1598 the theatre event of the year. I think William Shakespeare would probably be quite pleased.'

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