In April, it was announced that Damon would be absent only for the final week of This Is Our Youth performances, from 10 to 15 June. Then earlier this month, the Damon black-out dates were changed to 30 May to 12 June. The final (we hope!) schedule sees him away from 31 May to 13 June inclusive.
All Damon-led performances, bar the newly announced 14 June matinee, are now sold out, but any theatregoers who booked to see him are being offered refunds or exchanges. During the Good Will Hunting star's absence, the role of drug dealer Dennis Ziegler will be played by understudy Adam Rayner.
Commenting on the change of schedule, Damon's spokeswoman said: "Appearing in This Is Our Youth has been a wonderful experience for Matt, one that he wishes he could have continued without interruption. When he agreed to take the role, he did so knowing that he would have to leave for a short period. Matt leaves the play in Adam's good hands until he can return to finish what he started."
Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth received its UK premiere at the Garrick on 11 March 2002 (previews from 1 March). Originally starring Hollywood young guns Hayden Christensen, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin, the current trio of American movie stars - in addition to Damon, Casey (brother of Ben) Affleck and Summer (sister of River and Joaquin) Phoenix - took over from 7 May (previews from 25 April).
First seen in New York in 1996, when it was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best New Play, This Is Our Youth is a tragi-comedy set over a weekend in early 1980s Manhattan, where three college-aged kids from affluent families are living in drugged up squalor. The UK production is directed by Laurence Boswell and designed by Jeremy Herbert - the same creative team behind Up for Grabs, Madonna's West End debut vehicle, which is down the road at Wyndham's Theatre.
In addition to Good Will Hunting and The Bourne Identity, Damon's many major film releases include Saving Private Ryan, The Talented Mr Ripley, Ocean's Eleven, Rounders, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Majestic and All the Pretty Horses.
For information on refunds or exchanges, theatregoers should contact the Garrick box office on 0870 890 1104.
- by Terri Paddock