Party of the Week: Legends in their own lunchtime

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The Independent Culture

Lenny Henry was accompanied by his wife Dawn French to the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Royal Opera House, where he won the Best Newcomer prize for his lead role in Othello.

The reception beforehand in the glass atrium of the Floral Hall was buzzing with all the darlings of the theatre world: the Old Vic's Kevin Spacey, Anna Friel wearing a revealing sheer black dress, as well as Sir Peter Hall, Claire Bloom, Fiona Shaw, Ruth Wilson, Vanessa Redgrave with actor Franco Nero, and Michael Grandage.

Rachel Weisz, who was in Romania on set of her latest movie The Whistleblowers wasn't able to collect the best acting award – renamed in tribute to the actress Natasha Richardson who died earlier this year in a skiing accident – for her role as Blanche Dubois in the Donmar's A Streetcar Named Desire.

Sir Ian McKellen, who was honoured for his outstanding contribution to British Theatre, chatted to Godot co-star Patrick Stewart at lunch. Naturally spirits were high for both Mark Rylance, who won Best Actor for the Royal Court's production of Jerusalem which also won Best Play and Rupert Goold, who won Best Director for Enron – another triumph for the Royal Court. Jerusalem's playwright Jez Butterworth hung out with the young playwright Polly Stenham whose play Tusk Tusk was up for Best Play. The London Mayor Boris Johnson also joined the ceremony, hosted by Evening Standard executive director Evgeny Lebedev and compered by Kirsty Young.