Doctor reveals further details of Derren Brown horror fall, theatre owner responds
A doctor has revealed further details of the dramatic moment a man fell from the balcony of the Palace Theatre during a performance of Derren Brown Infamous last Saturday.
As reported by WhatsOnStage on Monday, the man was pushed from the top balcony by his wife "as a joke", and plummeted 15 feet onto the lighting rig below.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, 32 year-old cardiologist James Richardson, who was sitting in the circle below the balcony, said: "There was a bang and the guy just went over the edge onto this 18-inch piece of metal and he was clawing onto the edge of it.
"One guy dived over and grabbed his arm, and then me and Lewis [a friend] jumped over the seats and grabbed his chest and waist and hauled him back. It was very Hollywood-esque. He had pretty much lost his grip when the guy's hand grabbed onto him just in time."
After the show on Saturday evening (3 August), which was also attended by celebrities Glenn Close, John C Reilly and Russell Brand, Brown took to Twitter to report what happened.
"Tonight a woman pushed her hubby as a joke from the front of the balcony," he wrote.
"He fell and caught the upper circle on the way down, and was hanging from it. He's fine, but what a finale. Sending best thoughts to him and his wife, terrifying."
Dr Richardson added: "I checked him over. He had no visible significant injuries, only a few scratches. He was moving his arms and legs and talking. If he had fallen he would not have made it."
Nica Burns, chief executive of Palace Theatre owners Nimax, has released the following statement:
Following the extraordinary incident at the Palace theatre on Saturday night after the end of Derren Brown's show, we are first of all relieved that no hospital treatment was required. A report of the incident was made on Saturday night by the management and staff at the theatre with the assistance of members of the public present. As a matter of good practice, an investigation was held on Monday 5 August at the place of the incident with an independent health and safety consultant.
The safety barrier at the front of the balcony of the Palace Theatre stands at 1.2 metres which is considerably higher than the minimum safety requirement. We are mystified as to how the gentleman in question was physically able to fall over the front of the balcony safety barrier, even if pushed by his female companion. We are satisfied that this was an exceptional, one-off event and send the couple in question all our best wishes.
The balcony at the Palace and in all theatres across the UK are all required to meet stringent safety regulations in order to obtain the required licences. The Palace theatre and all Nimax theatres implement safety regulations rigorously and we are proud of our excellent safety record. The safety of all customers and our staff is paramount. There is no record of this kind of incident happening at the Palace, or indeed any other SOLT theatre, before. Theatre balconies may be high but they are safe.
Derren Brown Infamous opened at the Palace on 24 June and continues until 17 August.