The musical makeover of a young Roald Dahl heroine has landed 10 nominations at the top awards in Britain's theatrical calendar, with audiences flocking to feelgood shows.
Matilda The Musical received nominations in all the categories it was eligible for at this year's Olivier Awards, including best new musical and a combined best actress nomination for the four child actors who play the lead. The sell-out show has already scooped four prizes at the Whatsonstage.com awards and won best musical at the Evening Standard Awards.
Comedian and songwriter Tim Minchin wrote the music and lyrics for the adaptation of the classic children's book. The Independent described it as a show "for all ages and seasons". Bertie Carvel, nominated for best actor in a musical for his turn as Miss Trunchbull, said: "The show is a real collaboration so I'm thrilled. We will all have a spring in our step at tonight's performance."
He added: "I'm not surprised at the success, it is really good. Kids love it, but it isn't just a kids show, it is a sophisticated piece of theatre. It has been a real privilege." Matilda will do battle with shows including Shrek The Musical, London Road and Ghost The Musical at the awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House next month.
One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden, and The Ladykillers, based on the Ealing comedy film, lead the nominations for play categories with five each. They will compete for the accolade of best new play. The Olivier Awards were set up in 1976 and are run by the Society of London Theatre.
Chief executive Julian Bird said shows including One Man, Two Guvnors, War Horse and Matilda were still selling out. "These shows are upbeat and feelgood," he said. "We've had an encouraging start to the year." Terri Paddock, editorial director of Whatsonstage.com, said it was no surprise that Matilda had performed so well, adding: "It is a strong year for feel-good shows. Everyone wants a laugh."
Corden has been nominated best actor in the role he is taking to Broadway next month. The category also included nods to Jude Law for Anna Christie and a joint nomination for Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller for Frankenstein. Best Actress nominations included Kristin Scott Thomas for Betrayal, Lesley Manvill for Grief and Marcia Warren for The Ladykillers.
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