A single case of Covid-19 among the cast has led to the cancellation of opening night of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre
Performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, Cinderella, at London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre have been cancelled, including today’s opening night show, because of a Covid-19 case in the cast.
With only hours to go before opening night tonight, Lloyd Webber put out a statement this afternoon saying: “Today, on this ‘Freedom Day’, I have been forced to take the heart-breaking decision not to open my Cinderella.”
It followed the cancellation of both performances on Saturday 17 July because of concern about a possible positive Covid-19 case. It has now been confirmed that one member of the cast, who had a “cameo” role, has tested positive. Further tests have not identified any other cases.
Under Government regulations, anyone who has been in close contact with someone with Covid-19 has to self-isolate for up to 10 days which has already made it impossible for other theatre productions such as Hairspray at the London Coliseum to go ahead.
In his statement, Lloyd Webber did not say how long Cinderella would remain closed or when the new opening night would be, saying only that Monday and Tuesday’s performances were cancelled.
He concluded by saying that “the impossible conditions created by the blunt instrument that is the Government’s isolation guidance mean that we cannot continue.
“We have been forced into a devastating decision which will affect the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of people and disappoint the thousands who have booked to see the show.
“Cinderella was ready to go. My sadness for our cast and crew, our loyal audience and the industry I have been fighting for is impossible to put into words. Freedom Day has turned into closure day.”
Carrie Hope Fletcher, who plays the title role, responded on Twitter saying saying she was “completely and utterly gutted”.
It followed an earlier decision to require all theatre-goers to get a rapid lateral-flow or PCR test, even if fully vaccinated, before they could enter the theatre to see upcoming performances of Cinderella.
Today, Kenneth Branagh’s theatre company cancelled the whole run of his new production of Terence Rattigan’s The Browning Version at London’s Riverside Studios, which had been scheduled from 5 to 29 August 2021.
A statement from its producers, the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company and Fiery Angel, said: “Despite all company members observing strict Covid protocols, multiple company members have been robbed of more than two-thirds of the limited rehearsal time. Some isolating, some actually unwell.
“The first run-through was conducted with only four of the seven cast members able or allowed to perform. With a short run impossible to extend due to limited cast availability, delay is impractical. Therefore the very difficult decision to cancel has been made.”