The Best Actor in a Musical Olivier Award has gone to Bertie Carvel for his much-lauded performance as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda The Musical.
The cross-dressing role has brought him critical and public acclaim with his camp, hilarious and often subtly terrifying portrayal of the fearsome headmistress.
Originating the role when the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production first opened at the RSC’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon, Carvel continued the role when the Dennis Kelly-penned show transferred into the West End last November opening to a host of five star reviews.
Lyn Gardner’s review for The Guardian highlighted the actor’s unique appeal, saying: “That everyone is having a good time is apparent in every performance… Nowhere is it more apparent than in Bertie Carvel’s show-stopping turn as Miss Trunchbull. Imagine a cross dressing King Herod on steroids with a jutting bosom that is deployed like a weapon of mass destruction to wipe out small children at 100 paces.”
After accepting the award, the actor said: “It feels amazing. I’m very proud of the show, I’m proud of my part in it but frankly I’m proud of every inch of it, it’s really at every turn witty, inventive, it’s the kind of theatre I want to go and see which is the kind of theatre I want to be in so I’m very proud to be hefting this in its honour.”
Carvel, whose other stage credits include Rope at the Almeida theatre, The Pride at the Royal Court and Parade at the Donmar Warehouse, has already taken home a Theatre Awards UK accolade for his performance as Miss Trunchbull this awards season.
The win marks the third time the Best Actor in a Musical accolade has been awarded to a cross-dressing role in recent years with Douglas Hodge winning in 2009 for La Cage Aux Folles and Michael Ball in 2008 as Hairspray’s Edna Turnblad.