Matt Lucas is stepping in to play Thénardier in the West End production of Les Misérables, after Gerard Carey, who had been due to play the role, was forced to withdraw.
Following medical advice Carey will not be performing in the show, at the newly reopened Sondheim Theatre, for six weeks in order to rest his vocal chords and avoid long-term damage to his voice.
Lucas, who played the role in the recent West End concert version of the musical, will join the cast from December 23 for the six weeks that Carey is away. He is due to return on February 3.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh said: “Just as I was thanking the gods of the theatre for getting the spectacularly rebuilt Sondheim Theatre open on schedule with out brilliant new cast and production, we heard that our irrepressible Thénardier, Gerard Carey, would not be allowed to perform for several weeks due to a serious problem with his vocal chords.
“I’m thrilled to announce that Matt Lucas has volunteered to abandon his Christmas plans and rejoin Les Mis as Master of the House after his recent triumph in the staged concert at the Gielgud Theatre. He will play alongside Josefina Gabrielle as Madame Thénardier while Gerard recovers and returns to the company in February.”
Earlier this week, cast member Mark Pearce stepped in to cover the role of Thénardier with just two hours of rehearsal, and his performance was hailed by Mackintosh as one of the best he has seen in the show’s 35-year history.