Mathew Horne (pictured) is off again at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, where he is the title star in the revival of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane, now in the final week of its limited season.

Producers announced on Monday that Horne and his co-star, accomplished stage alumna Imelda Staunton, who had both missed four performances over the weekend while suffering from a virulent stomach bug, had returned for this final week (See News, 6 Apr 2009). However, a spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com this morning that doctors believe Horne had tried to “return too soon” and the decision was reversed just before curtain up on Monday.

He subsequently missed Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and will also be off for this afternoon’s matinee. It will be decided later today whether he’s well enough to resume this evening. The production, which opened on 30 January 2009 (previews from 22 January), finishes this Saturday, 11 April.

Horne’s recovery to full health is now being hampered by a minor back injury, for which he’s receiving treatment. He sustained the injury when he collapsed on stage at last week’s Thursday matinee (See News, 3 Apr 2009). He was performing a scene with Simon 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.

Joe Orton's 1964 play centres on the sexual tug-of-war between siblings Kath (played by Staunton) and Ed (Paisley Day) for the affections of handsome young lodger Sloane (Horne). Horne, best known from TV’s Gavin and Stacey and his comedy partnership with James Corden, made his professional stage debut in Entertaining Mr Sloane. In his absence, the role of Sloane is being played by his understudy, Fergus March.

- by Terri Paddock