There’s no business like show business, especially when things don’t go as planned!
Whether it’s bodily harm, illness or an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction, actors that tread the boards have to be ready to style it out during a live performance. But that’s easier said than done…
Here are the 10 worst things that have actually happened to actors live on stage – sit back and enjoy the show!
1. Exposing yourself: In 2014, the grand finale of a press-night performance of Full Monty at the Manchester Opera House had its male cast fully exposed due to a lighting problem. Normally, there’s a strong flash followed by a blackout as soon as the naked man throw off the hats covering their ‘bits’ – well, that didn’t happen, and the audience was left with an eye-full… But even funnier, on that same week, it happened again.
2. Break a leg: This classic theatre phrase is meant to bring luck, not be taken literally. Too bad that an old-school hydraulic dentist chair didn’t get the memo when it dropped on an actor’s leg during an amateur performance of Little Shop of Horrors. Let’s hope his fortune changed the following night!
3. Flash (bits) dance: An actor watched in horror from the wings as a friend danced her way across the stage with her partner. The problem? Her dress had slipped, exposing her chest for all to see. As Janet Jackson would agree, it happens to the best of us!
4. Hiccups: One poor actress felt the dreaded hiccups descend in her opening scene of the night. A tearjerker play, peppered with hiccups, is never going to hit the right note.
5. What’s my line again?: When veteran actor Tom McCarthy forgot his lines in The Philly Fan, he told the audience to “talk amongst yourselves” and disappeared backstage to retrieve the script. Risky move but they loved how he handled it, and he didn’t even use it for the rest of the night!
6. Burning down the house: Theatre has been around for many a year, and so have the mishaps! A performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII at the Globe in 1616 saw a cannon set off a spark in the thatched roof, burning the theatre to the ground. How’s that for a memorable opening night?
7. Props that flop: The more sensational the prop, the greater the chance of it all going wrong! As a performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory discovered a few years ago when the elevator malfunctioned, leaving Willy Wonka and Charlie stranded and in need of rescue.
8. Broken toes: An actor playing the all-dancing Rocky in The Rocky Horror Show managed to break two toes during his grand entrance, but nothing could drive him off the stage. His foot stayed purple for the rest of the run!
9. When you gotta go, you gotta go!: After a four-year-old dancer peed on the stage as the curtain went up on The Nutcracker, the dancers had to improvise their moves to avoid the puddles. They do say never work with children or animals!
10. Ghosts: An actor reached for a coat hanger in a sombre scene from Keely and Du, only for the prop to fly high into the air like a boomerang and land around the neck of her father, who was sitting in the audience.
Things can and do go wrong in live shows, but that’s all part of the drama! Choose your next big night out today: Click here for the full listing of theatre shows in London now!