Passion Cancels Shows After Actor Injured by GunDate: 4 October 2010
Please Note: This story has been updated since it was first posted on 4 October 2010
Several performances of Stephen Sondheim's Passion at the Donmar Warehouse have been cancelled this week after actor David Birrell was accidentally shot in an on-stage duel during Saturday's matinee (2 October 2010). A faulty firearm is thought to have caused the incident, which led to the actor being hospitalised.
Birrell sustained a serious eye injury and is still receiving treatment at University College Hospital. The injury reportedly occurred during a scene where Birrell, who plays Colonel Ricci, challenges Giorgio (played by David Thaxton) to a duel. Birrell is believed to have sustained the injury after the faulty gun was fired.
A spokesperson for the Donmar said: “Following initial inquiries into the accident at the theatre on Saturday, it appears that during the duel scene in Passion, David Birrell’s licensed replica stage gun mis-fired causing some debris to enter his eye. We are, as a matter of priority, carrying out further investigations into the incident. David is recovering well in hospital and is in good spirits. In addition to investigating the matter, our priorities at this time are to David's well being and recovery; and to theatregoers who have purchased tickets for performances in the coming days. We are cancelling the show Monday to Wednesday and will resume performances from Thursday. We will of course refund patrons who are unable to see the production."
Birrell has previously appeared at the Donmar Warehouse in Grand Hotel, and was a member of the original West End cast of Monty Python musical Spamalot. His other recent credits include Peter Pan and The Secret Garden at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
The theatre has advised that a full investigation will be undertaken into how the accident occurred. The cancellation of performances has been necessitate by the Donmar's general practice of working without understudies.
Passion, which opened on 21 September (previews from 10 September), is due to run until 27 November 2010. It stars David Thaxton stars as the hero Giorgio, a young officer separated from his mistress Clara (Scarlett Strallen), and sent away to a remote army outpost. There he’s relentlessly pursued by the devoted Fosca (Elena Roger), his commanding officer’s ailing cousin. The new production, the centrepiece of the Donmar’s Sondheim at 80 season, is directed by Donmar associate Jamie Lloyd.