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Theatre star in bizarre tantrum

A COMEDY turned into a mystery for a 400-strong audience as they witnessed a real life drama on the stage of a Flintshire theatre.

A COMEDY turned into a mystery for a 400-strong audience as they witnessed a real life drama on the stage of a Flintshire theatre.

The cast was as mystified as the audience as experienced Shakespearean actor Richard Moore stormed off stage during a preview performance of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold.

Ten minutes later the mystery deepened when the bemused audience was told the performance was being cancelled and they would have their money refunded.

The drama unfolded half an hour into the action as Mr Moore, in the lead role of The Player, made his entrance.

He immediately raised eyebrows by turning towards the audience and commenting: "Ah, an audience, how lovely."

The bewildered audience exchanged puzzled looks with the cast and then Moore strode off the stage.

Theatregoer Llewelyn Eyton, from Llangernyw, near Abergele, said: "He hurled his stick across the stage and stormed off.

"We didn't know whether it was part of the play and the rest of the cast stood around looking like lost sheep."

Some of the embarrassed actors tried to laugh off the incident with comments such as "Over to you" and "Anyone got a birthday?"

A member of the stage management team then appeared and asked the audience to be patient.

Ten minutes later, she reappeared to announce the show could not go ahead. She said their money would be refunded.

Someone shouted "What's the matter?", but she simply replied: "I'm sorry, I can't tell you."

Lynette Hughes, of Ruthin, who had been sitting in the front row of the audience with her mother and a friend, said: "The whole thing was so strange, and as people queued to get their money back there was all kinds of speculation about what was going on."

Clwyd Theatr Cymru spokesman Anthony Timothy issued a statement yesterday which said: "During a preview performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead last Saturday evening Mr Richard Moore, in the part of The Player, became unwell about half an hour into the show and had to leave the stage and return to his dressing-room. As Mr Moore was unable to continue this preview performance had to be cancelled. Clwyd Theatr Cymru would like to offer a full refund on tickets and a sincere apology for the disappointment and inconvenience caused to our audience on this occasion."

Mr Timothy said the actor was receiving medical attention and was expected to return to the show later this week.

His place was taken last night by 27-year-old understudy Dyfrig Morris.

Mr Timothy added: "It was impossible for anyone to step in at such short notice on Saturday once the performance had begun. It was totally and utterly unexpected."

He refused to reveal Richard Moore's condition but denied he was suffering from stage fright.

"It was a genuine medical condition and he received attention as quickly as possible. He continued to receive it over the weekend," said Mr Timothy.

"It should be remembered that it came at the end of a week of very intensive technical rehearsals during which the actors pushed themselves very hard. Richard appears to have pushed himself too hard and unfortunately nobody realised the seriousness of his condition at first."

He added: "We are deeply concerned that we have let our audience down."

Both Moore and director Terry Hands were unavailable for comment yesterday.

Moore, 57, who had appeared in three earlier preview performances last week is a highly experienced actor.

He has appeared at the Mold theatre several times, including a one-man show An Evening With Dickens in 1999 and as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.

L Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was largely responsible for Tom Stoppard making his name in the early 1960s. The publicity material for the Mold production said it "introduced him as an important young dramatist who reevaluated the relationship between the theatre and its audience"...SUPL:


David Holmes
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