Rebus play halted after Coronation Street star falls ill

Ian Rankin and Charles Lawson posed for pictures at the King's Theatre before the opening night performance was halted when the actor fell ill.
Ian Rankin and Charles Lawson posed for pictures at the King's Theatre before the opening night performance was halted when the actor fell ill.
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The opening night of the first Inspector Rebus stage play in Edinburgh was brought to a sudden halt after lead actor Charles Lawson fell ill during the show.

The Coronation Street star appeared to forget his lines near the start of the second half of the new play, Long Shadows, at the King’s Theatre, before announcing from the stage that he was feeling faint.

Coronation Street star Charles Lawson is the first actor to play Inspector John Rebus on stage.

Coronation Street star Charles Lawson is the first actor to play Inspector John Rebus on stage.

The 59-year-old was on-stage for a pivotal scene at the time with John Stahl, who plays Rebus’s arch-nemesis Cafferty, and Cathy Tyson, who plays long-time the retired detective’s long-time sidekick Siobhan Clarke.

Lawson's co-stars immediately came to his aid to help him from the stage before the house lights were turned on.

The King’s Theatre was sold out for the opening night of the run of the play, created by author Ian Rankin, who was in the audience, and playwright Rona Munro.

The audience were asked to remain in their seats while discussions were held backstage, before it was announced that Lawson’s understudy for the role of Rebus, Neil McKinven, was stepping in to help finish the performance, script in hand.

McKinven, who had already appeared on stage in a number of other roles earlier in the play, was given a rousing reception as he took a bow with the other cast members at the end of the show.

Long Shadows, which premiered at Birmingham Rep last month, is due to continue its run at the King's until Saturday as part of an extensive UK tour.

It emerged last week that Scottish stage and screen star Andy Gray had pulled out of the forthcoming Christmas panto at the King's Theatre after being diagnosed with blood cancer.

The 58-year-old had been due to appear with regular co-stars Grant Stott and Allan Stewart in Beauty and the Beast, but was advised to withdraw from the show from his doctors.