Woodbridge actor misses out

MARY Poppins star Laura Michelle Kelly is the toast of the West End today after scooping the best actress at last night's Laurence Olivier Awards. Her co-star, Gavin Lee, was not so lucky however.

MARY Poppins star Laura Michelle Kelly is the toast of the West End today after scooping the best actress at last night's Laurence Olivier Awards.

Her co-star, Gavin Lee, was not so lucky however. The Woodbridge actor had been in the running for a best actor accolade for his role as Bert in the acclaimed musical, but lost out to Nathan Lane who won the award for his part in The Producers.

Nathan's co-star Lee Evans and Paul Hegarty, for his role in Sweeney Todd, had also been nominated in the same category.

Gavin, who first took the stage with amateur group the Company of Four, had never expected to win an Olivier and admitted that being nominated was recognition enough.

And that Mary Poppins was a double winner at last night's awards ceremony at London Hilton on Park Lane was enough to ensure there was plenty to celebrate among cast and crew.

The production's choreography team of Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear also won an Olivier, for best theatre choreography.

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Sir Cameron Mackintosh's £9 million West End production of Disney's Mary Poppins had been nominated for nine awards.

Mel Brooks' hit show The Producers, which also received multiple nominations and pipped it to the post scooping three awards in total, including Nathan's actor glory and best new musical. Conleth Hill, who played flamboyant director Roger DeBris, won the third, for best supporting role in a musical.

Alan Bennett's The History Boys also won three awards - best new play, best actor for Richard Griffiths and best director for Nicholas Hytner.

Bennett picked up the Outstanding Achievement Award and received a standing ovation from the audience. The veteran playwright said the production had "given me more pleasure than anything that I can remember" but joked: "There's nevertheless no gainsaying the fact that this is the Zimmer frame award."

Clare Higgins won best actress (in a play) for Hecuba at the Donmar Warehouse. Best performance in a supporting role went to Amanda Harris for Othello at the Trafalgar Studios.

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