`Starlight Express' dancer loses damages fight

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The Independent Online
A top dancer in the roller-skating musical Starlight Express yesterday lost her High Court damages action over an onstage fall which ended her career.

Caron Davis, 31, was introducing her character, Dinah, to the audience during a show when the toe-stop on her right skate failed to brake and she fell.

Ms Davis (pictured), who used the stage name Caron Cardelle, claimed that The Really Useful Theatre Company Ltd was negligent in not doing more to stop the stage being slippery by keeping it dust-free.

She wept as she described how damage to ligaments in her back meant she had to abandon the work she loved and become a reflexologist. The company, which manages the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical at the Apollo Victoria theatre in London, denied liability and claimed the March 1994 accident was caused by Ms Davis's lack of concentration. Judge Christopher Hordern QC found that there was no breach of statutory duty or negligence established against the company.

Ms Davis's allegations that fluff was deposited by the air-conditioning or a newcarpet were both "red herrings", he added.

The judge, sitting in London, said that although the stage was more slippery than usual the night Ms Davis fell, the theatre did all that was reasonably possible to keep the stage safe.

Ms Davis, of Ruislip, west London, who was funded by her union, Equity, was ordered to pay costs.

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