Theatre company It’s Not Us was rehearsing its brand new dark comedy Time Please at the St Leonard in St Leonards-on-Sea.
In the play, a disturbed regular takes a pub hostage, threatening to blow up the venue unless his bizarre demands are met.
However, rehearsals on Sunday morning took an unexpected turn when a passer-by heard a commotion from behind the closed doors of the pub and called the police, thinking a genuine disturbance was taking place.
Officers then arrived at the pub just before 10.30am.
Kate Tym, who co-wrote the script and plays the part of publican, Cath, said: “The play is a bit shouty and sweary. It seems it was a bit too real. Someone passing called the police saying there was a woman in distress.”
John Knowles, co-author of the play, who plays Cath’s husband, Keith, said three police cars arrived on the scene to find rehearsals in full swing.
He added: “Hats off to the police for a speedy response. Fortunately there was no trouble afoot and police were greeted by three jolly thespians, albeit with one - Garry Fox, who plays Keith - dressed in a fake bomb vest.”
Garry said: “We’re taking it as a testament to the realism of the play.”
Publican Chris Leach said: “That’s the first time in nearly five years the police have been called to our pub.”
Time Please held a sell-out performance at the St Leonard last Tuesday evening, as a preview for the play’s appearance at the Brighton Fringe Festival, from May 25 to 29.
It’s Not Us has produced several plays locally, including A Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol, which sold out last December and already has pre-bookings for 2017.
Those who missed Time Please in St Leonards can see the play at the Bee’s Mouth for Brighton Fringe (May 25 to 29), The Printer’s Playhouse in Eastbourne (June 6 to 8) and a further two dates at the Kings Head in Islington.
Time Please is suitable for those aged 16 and over and includes swearing.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said police were called to the pub on Sunday after ‘male and female voices screaming’ were heard but stood down, realising there was nothing to worry about.
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