When props go wrong


A recent Guardian blog talked about 'prop flops' – when things go wrong on stage.

We do our best to make sure all our performances run smoothly, but live theatre does go wrong from time to time. Here are some examples…

One night our current production of Titus Andronicus came to a temporary halt when Saturnius (John Hopkins) remained naked in the bath which became stuck half way through the trap.

The Merry Wives of Windsor has a chequered history. Both our recent production and Merry Wives the Musical (2006), were each stopped three times, through difficulties with the set or audience illness.

Stage Manager Robbie Cullen said: 'On two preview performances, I had to pause Dame Judi Dench mid scene. The second time she said to me (and the audience) “Oh not you again!”'

The hydraulic leaning book cases on David Farr's The Winter's Tale (2009) decided to lean (and start tipping the odd book) a scene early on a New Year's Day matinee at the Roundhouse.

During one performance of Twelfth Night last year the on-stage lift cut out as it was coming down, leaving Andrew Aguecheek, played by Bruce Mackinnon stuck in the open cage lift.

He and fellow actors improvised (not in iambic pentameter) before stage managers had to temporarily stop the show, to much audience laughter, until the lift was fixed.

Later in the same performance Aguecheeck seemed to forget where the front of the stage was and fell off it – he was startled but unhurt.

Read Lyn Gardner's Guardian blog about theatre mishaps.

Photo: Nicholas Day as Sir Toby Belch, Bruce Mackinnon as Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Felix Hayes as Fabian in Twelfth Night (2012). Photo by Keith Pattison.

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