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Helen Mirren crowned top actress at top UK theatre awards

British actress Helen Mirren takes part in a panel discussion of HBO's "Phil Spector" during the 2013 Winter Press Tour for the Television C
British actress Helen Mirren takes part in a panel discussion of HBO's "Phil Spector" during the 2013 Winter Press Tour for the Television C

LONDON (Reuters) - Helen Mirren was crowned best actress at Britain's top theatre awards on Sunday for reprising her Oscar-winning portrayal of the queen, while a stage version of a novel about a boy with autism was on track to be the top winner of the Olivier awards.

Mirren, 67, has won stellar reviews for starring in "The Audience", Peter Morgan's play about the private weekly meetings between Queen Elizabeth and the 12 British prime ministers during the six decades of her reign.

Mirren is no stranger to royalty having won an Academy award for the same role in the 2006 film "The Queen".

The actress said the queen certainly deserved an Olivier award after receiving one of Britain's most prestigious entertainment honors, a BAFTA, earlier this month for her support for the film and television industry.

"I think she deserves one for the most committed and consistent performance of the 20th century and probably the 21st century," said Mirren on accepting the award from Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe.

Her co-star, Richard McCabe, won the award for best supporting actor for playing the prime minister Howard Wilson.

But the biggest winner of the 37th Olivier awards looked set to be "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" that opened at the National Theatre in London in 2012 and transferred to London's West End theatre district this year.

The play, based on Mark Haddon's 2003 award-winning novel, was nominated for eight awards and picked up several in the first half of the glitzy awards ceremony at London's Royal Opera House.

Luke Treadaway won the best actor award for playing 15-year-old Christopher, a maths prodigy with autism who sets out to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbor's dog.

"The book created such an amazing central character who people seem to relate to even though he has behavioral problems and his way of viewing of the world," Treadaway, 28, told Reuters on the red carpet on a chilly London evening.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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