Lenny Henry briefly left the stage after struggling to find his lines on the opening night of Educating Rita in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre.
His return a minute or so later was met with warm applause – and the play continued without mishap on a night which ended with a standing ovation and whoops of delight from the audience.
The newly-knighted funny man put his first-half blip behind him with a strong performance in one of Chichester Festival Theatre’s most-eagerly awaited 2015 summer productions. Featuring just the two actors, Sir Lenny is playing the part of world-weary university lecturer Frank in Willy Russell’s hit comedy, opposite Lashana Lynch as the Liverpudlian hairdresser Rita.
Mid-way through the first half, Sir Lenny struggled with a line. He carried on for a few minutes before struggling again, seeming to repeat the earlier line. After a couple of attempts, Sir Lenny announced he needed to leave the stage for a moment. Miss Lynch remained on the stage and made a joke about delivering a monologue before joining Sir Lenny off-stage. The pair remained absent for roughly a minute before coming back on to applause. They resumed at a point a couple of minutes before the slip.
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