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Our predictions for the Olivier Awards winners

If we're wrong you have permission to laugh at us

Roger Bart in Back to the Future: The Musical
© Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Here are some thoughts as to how things might play out on Sunday! get all the details here)! Before we get started it's probably worth jogging your memory as to the full list of nominees...

Best Play Revival

Some freshly invigorated classics – each of whom have already had a degree of love from awards nominations (the category is near-identical to the WOSAwards) as well as featuring some starry casts (quite literally in the case of Constellations). In fact, with its all-star cast and hefty number of producers on board, it's likely that the Donmar's revival will claim the top spot – though really any of A Number, The Tragedy of Macbeth or The Normal Heart may win the day – each got five stars from our critic Sarah Crompton, after all.

Daniel Perry
© Marc Brenner

Best Musical Revival

It's got to be Cabaret, right? Critical clamour, glitzy stars, lots of co-producers, a radically redefined space... but this is one of the toughest years for this category – Spring Awakening won with the critics last weekend and Anything Goes grabbed the public vote at the WhatsOnStage Awards – so it really is all to play for.

Best New Play

Two former WhatsOnStage Award Best New Plays are going head-to-head in this category, with Life of Pi (an import from Sheffield Crucible) and 2:22 A Ghost Story (the starry thriller about to commence a third West End run) vying for the top spot. They couldn't be more axiomatically different – one a giant visual feast of puppetry, pathos and tigers, while the other a taut thriller with a gripping climax. But personally we think the winner might well be James Graham for Best of Enemies, orbiting a West End run after its Young Vic premiere in December. Graham has won the comedy category before but we'd love to see him take the top spot here. Finally of course is Jack Holden's Cruise – a blistering, brilliant solo show that, though an outside favourite, indicates a big, bright future for the performer.

Owain Gwynn and Richard Parker the Tiger in The Life of Pi
© Johan Persson

Best New Musical

Wowee – five shows, each with their own merits – where to begin! The Oliviers has a tendency to echo the Broadway decision-making, so the Tony-winning Moulin Rouge! is perhaps, based on precedent, a strong contender. But shows like Back to the Future, Get Up, Stand Up! and The Drifters Girl haven't yet graced the New York stage –  and each have been pulling in big big audiences and critical clamour. Then, of course, there's the wonderfully dazzling Frozen – a ginormous iteration of the Disney classic that claimed the most nods at the WhatsOnStage Awards. But we think the WOSAwards voters might be signalling where the Oliviers are going, and Back to the Future may roar at 88mph to a victory.

Performance categories

We're lumping them all in and making some calls based on what we've seen thus far.

Liz Carr's blistering performance in The Normal Heart would be a fine nod, while we'd love to see Gabrielle Brooks' powerhouse Rita Marley turn get the top prize in the supporting musical category (won by the effervescent Carly Mercedes Dyer at the WhatsOnStage Awards). As for the supporting musical category on the actor side, it's really all down to the comedy with four side-splitting turns, but rising star Hugh Coles (another WOSAward winner) would be a fab recipient. Oh and yes – it'd be ace to see the Tiger win in the supporting play category – what a first!

The company of Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical
© Craig Sugden

In the leading category, Cush Jumbo seems to be the front-runner for the Actress spot following her Critics Circle win last week – while Hiran Abeysekera's athletic fulcrum of performance as Pi would be a great story for the night. Actor for a musical will be a tight race between Arinzé Kene and Eddie Redmayne (Redmayne did get a WOSAward already), while actress is anyone's game – the stately Beverley Knight as Faye Treadwell, the gritty characterisation of Jessie Buckley's Sally Bowles, Sutton Foster's dance prowess (which already has won her a Tony) and the shimmering warmth of Frozen's Stephanie McKeon. The critics adored Buckley, so we'd probably put our money there.

Creative categories

A few observations here – having re-watched Cabaret again – Rebecca Frecknall and Tom Scutt's work will surely get them three awards (direction, set design and costume design) though the creative bonanza of Moulin Rouge! may have other plans. Gareth Owen's turbo-charged sound design will likely be the frontrunner for Back to the Future, though it seems that another case should be made for a separate video design category – at the moment Finn Ross and Andrzej Goulding, two video designers, are sat in different camps. Bit of an odd one.