Tommy’s time comes too late to save the show

Tommy scooped three major theatre awards last night, a week after dwindling West End audiences forced its closure.

The rock musical, which starred Kim Wilde and newcomer Paul Keating, was named the year’s outstanding musical production at the Laurence Olivier Awards ceremony. Director Des McAnuff picked up the best director award and the production also took the prize for best lighting design.

The show, based on the Who’s Sixties rock opera, is about to tour the country after less than a year on the West End stage. Tommy’s creator Pete Townshend said he was not disappointed with the musical’s relatively short West End run. “The reality of music theatre is that it is expensive. You only have to have one bad week and you get stuck behind”, he added after the ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane. “I am glad now to be on the road bringing Tommy to the people.”

Janet McTeer was named best actress for her role in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Playhouse. She received her award from Hollywood funny man Gene Wilder, who is appearing in a West End production of Neil Simon’s play Laughter on the 23rd Floor.

Robert Lindsay won the best actor award for his Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver! at the London Palladium. Mr. Lindsay, who attended the ceremony with his new love, the Come Dancing presenter Rosemarie Ford, said he was thrilled. He added: “It was a bit of a shock as I am the fifth person to play this role in the production.”