An actor stepped in to cover the role of Mickey in Blood Brothers at no notice and with no rehearsal, after the understudy was taken ill.
The sold-out matinee at Derby Theatre was halted 35 minutes into the show, after the actor playing Mickey, Connor Bannister, left the stage.
Shaun McCourt, who understudies Eddie on the musical’s UK tour, was asked to cover the performance with a script in hand.
He said: “I was already in the wings and noticed that nobody was speaking on stage.
“Connor is a really good friend of mine so I went to check he was okay. I didn’t think for one moment that I was suddenly going to be on as Mickey.
“It was a split-second decision – the audience had been waiting for about 10 minutes and we needed to decide if the show as going to be cancelled or if I was going to go on, having never covered or learned any of Mickey’s lines.”
Bannister was himself covering the role for Alexander Patmore, who was unable to perform as Mickey due to a back injury.
“The cast was incredible. They were so incredibly supportive back stage and helped me through the show – they were just great and understanding of what was happening,” said McCourt.
His performance received a standing ovation from the audience.
Producer Bill Kenwright said: “We are very proud of Shaun, the entire company, and our company manager Helen Spall, who took all the right decisions in difficult circumstances.”
Musical director Matt Malone added: “Shaun is an absolutely amazing person, and one of the reasons he was able to do this was that he’s always helping other people with rehearsals and line runs. He’s the sort of example the West End needs.”
Blood Brothers is currently touring the UK and closes at Lichfield Garrick Theatre on April 11