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‘I can’t breathe’: New York air quality forces Jodie Comer to end Broadway performance after 10 minutes

Air quality in New York City was ranked number one for the worst air quality in the world on Wednesday afternoon

Tom Murray
Thursday 08 June 2023 04:52 BST
Mesmerising drone footage shows New York skyline blanketed in orange haze

Jodie Comer ended her one-woman show, Prima Facie, early on Wednesday (7 June) due to the “hazardous” air quality in New York.

The air quality in the US city has reached record lows after thick smoke billowed south from Canada’s devastating wildfires.

An audience member at the matinee production of Prima Facie at the John Golden Theatre told Deadline that Comer, 30, appeared on stage 10 minutes late.

Just a few minutes later, the Killing Eve star was off again after reportedly telling a stage manager: “I can’t breathe in this air.”

The Independent has contacted Comer’s representatives for comment.

“Today’s matinee of Prima Facie was halted approximately 10 minutes into the performance after Jodie Comer had difficulty breathing due to the poor air quality in New York City because of smoke from the Canadian wildfires,” a spokesperson for the production confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

An understudy, Dani Arlington, later filled in for Comer and completed the performance to enthusiastic applause, Deadline’s source said.

In Prima Facie, written by Suzie Miller, Comer plays defence barrister Tessa, who is raped by a colleague.

The actor is among the favourites to win the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play this Sunday (11 June).

Jodie Comer in ‘Prima Facie’ (Copyright © Empire Street Productions 2022. Photography Helen Murray)

In April, Comer scooped the Olivier Award for Best Actress for the play’s West End run.

“Comer is alternately steely and impassioned, noble and embarrassed, flustered and composed. It’s a remarkably agile performance,” The Independent said in its four-star review.

“Tessa’s barnstorming speech at the play’s close, while rousing, feels far too Hollywood in its neatness. Comer’s performance is extraordinary, though, and Prima Facie is worth seeing for that alone.”

Read the full review here.

The Big Apple was ranked worst in the world for air quality on Wednesday afternoon with the Air Quality Index (AQI) at one stage reaching above 350 – a level described as “hazardous”.

The air quality measurements out of New York City were the worst ever on record. Follow the latest updates here.

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