Did you break a leg? No, but I dislocated a finger...
Friday 21 September 2012
Breaking a leg on stage is meant to be an actor's worst nightmare but for Simon Russell Beale it was his finger that proved his undoing.
The award-winning actor slipped and fell during a particularly intense scene in Timon of Athens at the National Theatre on Wednesday night, bringing the show to a dramatic halt. Initially, the audience did not realise anything was wrong, as Beale carried on with his lines despite being in a great deal of pain. Then he calmly turned and said: "I'm sorry, I think I've broken my finger", before walking off-stage and being taken to hospital — where he was diagnosed with a dislocated digit.
Beale's understudy, Paul Dodds, who was about to go on in a minor role as a thief, was then hurriedly rushed to change costume to step into his shoes. He took to the stage as Timon to loud applause and gave a performance described as "cracking", "fantastic" and "wonderful", according to audience members on Twitter who sang the praises of Beale and the cast.
Beale yesterday said he was "amazed" at Dodds's ability and that he deserved "huge credit". A show insider said that despite the pain, Beale insisted on showering and changing before heading to St Thomas' Hospital, as the fall happened when Timon is homeless and dressed in dirty, ragged clothes.
Dodds said taking over from Beale was the most "nerve-racking" yet "exhilarating" experience of his career: "The audience and the actors were fantastic. I got a loud round of applause when I went on and the emotional intensity just carried me through."
Beale was due to return to his role last night.
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 World Cup 2014: 20 things we learned in Brazil
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 World Cup 2014: Robin van Persie gives his bronze medal to eccentric Netherlands fan moments after being handed it by Sepp Blatter
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’