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Matt Lucas withdraws from West End Les Misérables following back injury with Ian Hughes joining the show

The comedian was covering Gerard Carey, who was forced to rest his vocal cords in December

Matt Lucas and Ian Hughes
© Left: Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Matt Lucas has withdrawn from the West End production of Les Misérables following a back injury.

The hit comedian has been playing the role of Mr Thenardier since 23 December 2019, stepping in for Gerard Carey who was originally cast and had to withdraw to rest his vocal chords.

Lucas, who was scheduled to perform in the show until 1 February, took to Twitter to say that he has had to depart after back troubles – which need four to six weeks of recovery.

Ian Hughes, currently playing Thénardier on tour, will take on the role from 10 January 2020, with Cameron Blakely playing the part in Zurich while Hughes is in London. Hughes' other credits include Guys and Dolls and The Lion King.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh said: "To lose one master of the house is unfortunate and two perhaps careless! I am delighted to be bringing Ian Hughes to the wonderful London Company to partner Josefina Gabrielle in order that Les Misérables can officially open at the Sondheim Theatre next week as planned. I am sure it will be third time lucky! I am so grateful to Matt Lucas who abandoned his holiday plans to help us out and am looking forward to welcoming back Gerard to the company at the end of February."

The remaining cast of Les Misérables includes Jon Robyns as Jean Valjean, Bradley Jaden as Javert, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Fantine, Shan Ako as Eponine, Gabrielle as Madame Thénardier, Harry Apps as Marius, Ashley Gilmour as Enjolras and Lily Kerhoas as Cosette. Rachelle Ann Go will return to the role of Fantine for seven weeks in the spring and will take over the role fully from Fletcher in the summer.

They are joined by Kelly Agbowu, Ciarán Bowling, Richard Carson, Rodney Earl Clarke, Matthew Dale, Matt Dempsey, Harry Dunnett, Jessie Hart, Jessica Joslin, Sarah Lark, Georgie Lovatt, Ellie Ann Lowe, Luke McCall, Leo Miles, Claire O'Leary, Shane O'Riordan, Kathy Peacock, Sam Peggs, Mark Pearce, Emma Warren, Sake Wijers, Mared Williams and Samuel Wyn-Morris.

The musical continues to run at the Sondheim Theatre, with an official opening night at the refurbished venue scheduled for next week.

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