Horne and Staunton were laid low last Thursday during a matinee performance – Horne collapsing on stage during the second act, after which he was taken to hospital. Both stars were advised to rest and missed the next four performances over the weekend, with their understudies, Fergus March and Sharon Eckman, stepping into their roles.
In a statement, Horne said today: “I am delighted to say I am feeling much better and will return to the show tonight for the final week. I feel terrible for letting audience members down last week when I was ill, and I am so grateful for the wonderful letters of well wishes from everyone. We have all had an amazing time working on Sloane since January, and I am just glad to be back in full health for the final week of this tremendous production.”
Horne has had a punishing schedule of late, presenting live shows with his comedy partner James Corden alongside his current TV commitments and performances of Entertaining Mr Sloane, in which he plays the title role. He made his West End debut in the revival, directed by Nick Bagnall, which opened on 30 January 2009 (previews from 22 January).
Joe Orton's 1964 play centres on the sexual tug-of-war between siblings Kath (played by Staunton) and Ed (Simon Paisley Day) for the affections of handsome young lodger Sloane (Horne). During last Thursday’s matinee, Horne was performing a scene with Paisley Day when, ten minutes into the second act, he slumped off the sofa onto the floor. Paisley Day called out to the audience for a doctor, and an ambulance was called.
- by Terri Paddock