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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 16:58 GMT
Evans' delight at Olivier award
Daniel Evans with co-star Jenna Russell
Evans and fellow star and award winner Jenna Russell
Actor Daniel Evans has said he is still reeling from shock at winning a second Laurence Olivier award for his latest West End role.

Evans won best actor for his role in the Stephen Sondheim musical revival Sunday in the Park with George.

The musical swept the board at the theatre awards and the 33-year-old from Cwmparc in Rhondda, put its success down to the "David and Goliath" factor.

"It was a surprise, definitely, but a very nice one," he added.

"It's a surprise to me that I've picked up a second Oliver award."

The first came in 2000 for another Sondheim musical but Evans admitted that the impact of this latest low budget musical, inspired by the work of a French painter, has surprised everybody

Originally from a "hugely supportive" non-theatrical family - his parents were both teachers - Evans broke into acting via the Welsh-language youth movement, winning a chair at the annual Urdd eisteddfod.

Brittany Murphy
Hollywood actress Brittany Murphy is the next co-star for Evans

Evans family could not be at the awards ceremony but his father who was first on the phone to him to say he had seen the news on BBC Ceefax.

He studied at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before he was talent spotted by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Diversification into musical dramas, roles in period TV dramas and films followed and now Evans is pursuing a life both in acting and, increasingly, directing.

On Tuesday he began rehearsals for his next stage production, Total Eclipse , a play about two 19th Century French poets which opens next month.

Later in the year he stars in a romantic comedy set in Tokyo called The Ramen Girl - Lost in Translation meets The Karate Kid according to Evans - in which he plays Brittany Murphy's friend.

Director's seat

He is also in discussions about directing his fourth play.

Already under his belt is a touring production for the Welsh National Theatre of the Welsh-language Esther by Saunders Lewis.

He aspires to be like Richard Wilson - of One Foot in The Grave TV fame - who combines a life in front of an audience with one in the director's seat.

"I would like to get a balance in my work," admitted Evans "Richard Wilson is my exemplar and I would like my career to be like his."

His most recent directing role involved renewing a relationship with another man he admires, playwright Peter Gill.

Richard Wilson
Evans wants his career to be like actor/director Richard Wilson's

He first worked with the Cardiff writer 10 years ago appearing in his play Cardiff East and this time he was directing a production of his Certain Young Men.

"I hugely admire Peter's work - I think he is the greatest writer in the UK today," said Evans.

Directing involves trips back to south Wales- the last at Christmas but Evans simply laughed when asked if he is part of the Welsh acting set in London.

"People always talk as though we go round in a posse or something. If they do they don't invite me. And anyway they've all - Ioan Gruffudd and Matthew Rhys etc - moved to Hollywood now, haven't they?

"But if I am part of that set, it's good company to be in"

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