Hollywood actor Josh Hartnett (pictured) has been forced to miss four performances of Rain Man this week after contracting food poisoning. Producers say that he’ll be back on by tomorrow night.

Hartnett’s last performance was on Monday night (17 November 2008), when he took part with fellow cast members in a post-show discussion as part of the Whatsonstage.com Outing to the production at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue (See News, 18 Nov 2008). He was taken into hospital on Tuesday after suffering from stomach pains and, under doctor’s advice, has been off the show since, missing the Tuesday and Wednesday evening performances and the Wednesday matinee, as well as tonight.

In Hartnett’s absence, the part of Charlie Babbitt is being played by understudy Richard Lynson. Theatregoers who booked in order to see Hartnett have been offered exchanges for dates later in the play’s limited run to 20 December 2008.

Hartnett has made his professional stage debut in the stage adaptation of the 1988 Oscar-winning film, playing Charlie Babbitt opposite British stage actor Adam Godley as his autistic brother Raymond, the roles played on screen by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. When Raymond is released into Charlie’s care, Charlie tries to harness Raymond’s genius to save his business and the brothers embark on a rollercoaster journey beyond the hospital gates.

Rain Man is adapted by Hollywood screenwriter Dan Gordon and directed by Terry Johnson, who took over from original director David Grindley. The cast also features Colin Stinton, Mary Stockley, Charles Daish and Tilly Blackwood.

- by Terri Paddock