The stage play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time swept the board at the Olivier Awards on Sunday night, winning in seven categories, including best actor and best new play, to match last year’s record haul by Matilda the Musical.
Luke Treadaway’s portrayal of a teenage boy with autism, in Simon Stephens’ stage adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Mark Haddon, garnered the best actor title at the awards in Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House.
Nicola Walker was named best supporting actress, and Marianne Elliott best director, in a production that began at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe Theatre in 2012 before transferring to the West End. Of the eight awards for which it was nominated, The Curious Incident missed out only on the prize for theatre choreography.
Other winners at Britain’s most prestigious theatre awards included Helen Mirren, who was named best actress for her portrayal of the Queen in The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre. Richard McCabe, playing the late prime minister Harold Wilson in the production, collected best supporting actor.
Top Hat, a stage version of the famous 1935 RKO Radio film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, received three awards, including best new musical, best theatre choreographer for Bill Deamer and best costume design for Jon Morrell.
Leigh Zimmerman won the award for best performance in a supporting role in a musical for her part as Sheila in a revival of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium.
A five-hour opera, where the audience was permitted to walk in and out of the auditorium as they pleased, took the award for best new opera production. Einstein on the Beach is the first opera by composer Philip Glass, with direction by Robert Wilson and choreography by Lucinda Childs.
Best new dance production went to the Royal Ballet for Aeternum at the Royal Opera House, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.
Members of the public voted for Billy Elliot the Musical in the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award – a show shortlisted in the category for the past three years.
The annual celebration of dramatic achievement comes during a purple patch for London theatre, which clocked up record revenues in 2012, even though the London Olympics led to venues staging fewer performances than normal.
Sales rose slightly to £529m, according to the Society of London Theatre, which represents 52 venues in the capital.