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Big surprises at the 59th Evening Standard Theatre Awards

London was all-aglitter last Sunday as the stars of stage and screen got all dressed up for the 59th Evening Standard Theatre Awards. The ceremony, which was held at the Savoy Hotel and hosted by Damian Lewis, with guests and presenters including actors Jude Law, Hayley Atwell and Tom Hiddleston, and politicians Boris Johnson and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The big surprise of the evening was Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear jointly winning the Best Actor category after judges decided that it was impossible to decide between their two performances in the National Theatre’s production of Othello. The pair beat off front-runner Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was nominated for his performance in A Season In The Congo at the Young Vic Theatre.

Helen Mirren followed her Olivier Award-winning success earlier this year, adding another Best Actress trophy to her collection for her performance as reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan's The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre.

In the other acting categories awarded at the lavish ceremony, London stage newcomers Seth Numrich, who starred opposite Kim Cattrall in the Old Vic’s Sweet Bird Of Youth, and The Light Princess’ leading lady Rosalie Craig were awarded Outstanding Newcomer and Best Musical Performance respectively. Stage and screen star David Walliams earned the Award for Comedy for his star turn as Bottom in Michael Grandage’s recent West End production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while former Olivier Award nominee Cush Jumbo picked up the Emerging Talent Award for her one woman show Josephine And I at the Bush Theatre.

The Best Musical award went to Maria Friedman’s five star production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, fending off Tori Amos’ long-anticipated The Light Princess and high-profile Broadway transfer The Book Of Mormon.

The Evening Standard Awards marks the start of the theatre awards season that will culminate in April with the Olivier Awards.