Chichester Festival Theatre: Lenny Henry leaves the stage after losing his line

Lenny Henry briefly left the stage after struggling to find his lines on the opening night of Educating Rita in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre.

Lenny Henry
Lenny Henry

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.

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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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