‘My Neighbour Totoro’ Wins at Olivier Awards

Phelim McDermott poses with the award for Best Director for “RSC’S My Neighbor Totoro” along Erica Whyman and Ailin Conant at the Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday.

LONDON (Reuters) — A stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s 1988 animated film “My Neighbour Totoro” was the big winner at the Olivier Awards on Sunday, picking up six prizes at Britain’s top theatre extravaganza.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) critically acclaimed production, based on the much-loved film by Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki about two sisters who discover friendly forest spirits when they move to a new country house with their father in post-war Japan, had led nominations with nine nods.

It won best entertainment or comedy play as well as the director, set, lighting, sound and costume design category prizes.

“’My Neighbour Totoro’ is a story about kindness, courage and imagination and we will forever be grateful for the kindness, courage and imagination of the extraordinary people that came together to make this production,” Griselda Yorke, executive producer at the RSC, said.

A revival of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” won three awards at the event that celebrates the best shows in the capital and is named after the famed British actor Laurence Olivier.

It won best revival, best actor for Paul Mescal for his role as Stanley Kowalski and best actress in a supporting role for Anjana Vasan, for her portrayal of Stella.

“I just have to thank Tennessee Williams really … he gave us magic instead of realism and that’s what we all needed,” director Rebecca Frecknall, who last year won best director for “Cabaret,” said.

“Standing at the Sky’s Edge,” about three families living for a period of over 60 years in a council housing estate in the English city of Sheffield, won best new musical and best original score or new orchestrations for musician Richard Hawley and composer Tom Deering.

“Killing Eve” star Jodie Comer won best actress in one-woman play “Prima Facie,” in which she portrays a barrister who defends men accused of sexual assault before herself being assaulted. The production was named best new play and the 30-year-old, who won rave reviews for her West End debut, reprises the role on Broadway this month.

“This play has changed my life so much,” she said in her acceptance speech.

A new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” won best musical revival and best actor in a musical for Arthur Darvill. Katie Brayben won the best actress equivalent for musical “Tammy Faye.”

Other honourees included veteran actor and two-time Olivier winner Derek Jacobi, who was given a lifetime achievement award.

“It feels wonderful particularly to be given an award in his name, because he was a vital part of my early career,” Jacobi told Reuters of Olivier.