Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Director steps in at last minute as lead actor rushed to hospital

The female director of a Carlisle play was forced to step in just hours before the curtain went up – after her leading man was hospitalised with appendicitis.

Lexie Ward photo
Lexie Ward

Sebastian Coombe had been enjoying his starring role in the Green Room Club’s production of Tom, Dick and Harry when disaster struck on Wednesday.

“It’s one of the hardest plays I’ve had to do,” he told the News & Star. “I’m only offstage for about two minutes and had spent weeks learning the lines and the moves and all the nuances, to make the show as funny as possible.”

But with just two hours until that evening’s performance began, Sebastian was rushed into hospital leaving director Lexie Ward with no choice.

She took on the role herself and, despite the fact she is the wrong gender and performed with a script in hand, the audiences got behind her.

“It was one of those nightmare situations but we didn’t want to let anyone down,” Lexie said.

It is the second time Sebastian has been hospitalised mid-run at the Green Room; halfway through last year’s production of The Real Thing he had to be treated for a painful viral infection similar to mumps.

Sebastian says he’s disappointed but stoic. “These things come in threes, they say, so next time I’m hoping it’ll just be something like a mild cough.

“It was incredibly disappointing to have to drop out again, but I guess if you can’t cry you just have to laugh about it.”

And Lexie said that while it may be the second time it has happened to Sebastian, it is the fourth time she has been called upon to stand in.

“When we did Boeing Boeing I stepped in with four weeks to go after someone dropped out,” she recalled. “In Selfish the same thing happened with four days notice, and in the panto last year I got five hours to get ready after a fairy went sick.

“I’m not sure whether it’s Seb or me who’s cursed.”


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