Rik Mayall Withdraws from Balmoral Citing IllnessDate: 10 August 2009
Rik Mayall has withdrawn from the Theatre Royal Bath revival of Michael Frayn’s farce Balmoral due to illness, and will not be returning. The production opens tomorrow night (11 August 2009, previews from 5 August) prior to a regional tour.
Written in 1978, the play is set in 1937 in the royal residence of the title, where warden Skinner oversees a commune of recalcitrant writers and a government inspector is about to call. Mayall had been due to lead the cast as Skinner (See News, 17 Mar 2009), but has withdrawn citing illness.
A statement from the theatre said: “It has been confirmed that the role of Skinner will no longer be played by Rik Mayall who was taken ill during rehearsals. Rik has been advised by his doctor to withdraw from the play and has regretfully agreed ... Actor and comedian Steve McNeil will play the warden, Skinner, until further notice.”
A representative of the production today confirmed to Whatsonstage.com that Mayall will not be returning, and the role of Skinner will be re-cast for the tour.
Mayall, who rose to fame in the The Young Ones and has stage credits including The New Stateman, is the second star name to withdraw from this year's Peter Hall season in Bath. Last month Jane Laportaire withdrew from the world premiere production of Peter Gill's Another Door Closed citing “creative differences” with the playwright (See News, 22 Jul 2009).
Balmoral, which premiered in 1980 under the name Liberty Hall but was re-named in 1987 following a re-write, is directed by Alan Strachan. It runs at the Theatre Royal Bath until 22 August before touring to the Cambridge Arts Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Norwich Theatre Royal, Kingston Rose, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Devonshire Park Theatre and theYvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.