The Inheritance, Company and Come from Away win big at Olivier awards

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Subsidised theatre’s impact on West End highlighted by winning productions

A sprawling two-part, seven-hour play about the lives of gay men in New York emerged as one of the biggest winners at the UK’s most prestigious theatre awards on Sunday.

The Inheritance won four Oliviers at a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Also with four wins were a gender-switching reinvention of Stephen Sondheim’s Company and a spirit-lifting September 11 musical from Canada, Come From Away.

Honours were spread evenly. There was no obvious juggernaut to challenge the record nine Oliviers won by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in 2017, or the seven won by Hamilton last year.

Matthew Lopez’s epic play The Inheritance, which transferred to the West End after a sold-out run at the Young Vic, was named best new play and won awards for its director, Stephen Daldry, and its lead actor, Kyle Soller, best known for some as Ross’s cousin Francis in BBC One’s Poldark.

The play – “Angels in America crossed with Howards End”, said the Guardian’s Michael Billington – tells the stories of the post-Aids generation of New York gay men. In his review Billington said it was a play which “pierces your emotional defences,” while Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described it as “perhaps the most important American play of the century so far”.

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