David Tennant's return to the London stage after back surgery has been named the theatre event of the year.

The Doctor Who actor was forced to withdraw from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production of Hamlet due to an injury last year but returned to the play shortly before it completed its London run.

His comeback was acknowledged at the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice awards while Hamlet was named best regional production after a successful transfer from Stratford-on-Avon to London.

Hosted by Gavin and Stacey actors James Corden and Sheridan Smith, the awards also saw Kenneth Branagh voted best actor for Ivanov and Eddie Izzard winning best solo performer for his Stripped stand-up show.

Katy Stephens was voted best actress for The Histories with US actor Josh Hartnett named London newcomer of the year for Rain Man.

"Being on stage in the West End production of Rain Man was a thrilling new experience," the Pearl Harbor star said.

"Everyone worked incredibly hard, and made me feel welcome. I am thankful to the audiences for coming out and supporting us."

West End musical Jersey Boys, about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, was successful in all four of its nominated categories, including best new musical and best actor in a musical.

And the Donmar Warehouse was the dominant production house at the ceremony, with five wins across three of its plays (Ivanov, Othello and The Chalk Garden).

16/02/2009 10:03:35