Understudy saves the day after Little Britain star Matt Lucas forced to withdraw from CFT first night

Forced to withdraw: Matt Lucas. Photo by Johan Persson
Forced to withdraw: Matt Lucas. Photo by Johan Persson

Understudy Ryan Pidgen won a standing ovation and loud roars from the audience for a flawless performance at just a few hours’ notice – after Little Britain star Matt Lucas was forced to withdraw from the opening night of Me And My Girl at Chichester Festival Theatre.

CFT artistic director Daniel Evans took to the stage at the start of the night to tell a packed house that Lucas would not be appearing after being advised by a throat specialist to rest his voice.

Mr Evans said that his understudy Ryan Pidgen would be stepping in after three or four hours of rehearsals: “And frankly tonight, Ryan Pidgen is my hero.”

Mr Evans said Matt Lucas would be given time to rest. No mention was made of a possible date for his return. The show, which also stars Caroline Quentin, Clive Rowe and Alex Young, continues on the main-house CFT stage until August 25.

In an interview with the Chichester Observer last week, Matt Lucas said how much he was enjoying the role. Last week’s previews at the CFT had sparked glowing reports of his performance.

For interview, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/little-britain-s-matt-lucas-stars-at-chichester-festival-theatre-1-8557699