Glenn Meads: Oliviers 2012 Blog - View from the armchairDate: 15 April 2012
The Olivier Awards were televised again this year and if you followed our live coverage Twitter coverage and blogs, you will have noticed that for many - it was felt to be a bit of a let down. This year though, there were many improvements - even though the overall quality of the links and sound did let the side down.
After Jodie Prenger received quite a bit of criticism, there was a noticeable difference in the capable hands of her replacement. Prenger can present but she tries too hard to play the Northern giggly lass who puts across the image of making you a brew as she guides you through events.
But this year, Anneka Rice more than made up for this in some ways. She had clearly done her research and was confident during interviews. She also looked good for the cameras but there was a downside. She kept telling anyone that would listen how much she goes to the theatre. Why? A weather person doesn't keep saying "I've been out loads today, it's cold." So why tell us?
Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton are perfect hosts and you can see why they have been asked back again. They have a natural chemistry and in terms of product placement - they managed to make you want to see Sweeney Todd every time they shared a joke or grinned at each other, as they have excellent chemistry.
The slickness that you long for though is not really there for a TV production which is celebrating a multi-million pound industry. It costs about £65 to see a show and often what you see is a great deal smoother than what you witness in the transition of the awards from stage to screen.
It again felt like none of the performers had the chance to rehearse. The sound at times was awful with many poignant moments cut short due to failing mics. Poor Rory Kinnear was trying to present a piece remembering the great and good who had passed away but none of us could hear him.
The winners and the losers will always be debated of course and for many Matilda was a deserved winner but Ghost fans will have felt cheated. It was nice to see Crazy for You win even though it has since closed. I fail to see One Man, Two Guvnors went home empty handed when it has gotten people into theatres who rarely go, but what do I know?
So, overall then - there are many improvements on last year's coverage. But there is still a long way to go. The Oliviers need to be on BBC Two as the red button coverage is unreliable. I lost the final section as my digibox cut out and a couple of technical glitches did ruin the flow of the show.
I know it would involve money and lots of it, but I'd like to see the Oliviers held up like the Tonys are in the US. With the likes of Tyne Daly and James Earl Jones on presenting duties, you would think that they must compare the two. Yes, the UK is seen as quaint in may quarters but the endless plug for Mousetrap showed you why we we are seen as dusty, stuffy creatures. Yet, we have a thriving theatre scene even during the longest recession many of us have experienced.
So, please - to the producers of the Oliviers - put more money in because if our Twitter feed is anything to go by, lots of social network users loved the songs from the shows and will go to the theatre as a result. But if you want more viewers, therefore bums on seats - the red button has to go.
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