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Star of Highgate show disappears an hour before debut
The star of a Highgate show did a runner an hour before he was supposed to make his debut on stage.
Ben Stirling, who was due to perform in all new play, Goodnight Mrs Calabash, was eating with his fellow actors before excusing himself to go to the toilet.
It was only when he had been missing for more than ten minutes when suspicions were raised, and the leading actor has not been seen in the theatre since.
Unfortunately, without a leading actor, the show was cancelled on May 17 for eight days while theatre bosses looked for a replacement.
Actor Tim Frost was picked for the part and had just four days to learn 15 songs as well as all the lines for the new play, which reopened on May 25.
John Plews, who is the artistic director at the Gatehouse Theatre in Highgate Village, said: “No one could have imagined it- it was a struggle at first.
“People have disappeared during the auditions before but never an hour before the show.”
The theatre is still in the dark as to what happened to the mystery actor, although they did receive a Facebook post the next morning from his partner telling him he had gone to stay with his mother in Scotland.
The director said: “We can all guess as to why, it could have been stage fright but we don’t know.
“I think it is probably quite rare, I have never come across it before and I have been working in the theatre industry for 40 years.”
Mr Frost, who played the lead role in Play It Again Sam at the same theatre, came to the rescue to ensure the show could go on.
Mr Plews said: “It is a challenge and he has risen to the challenge so it is quite exciting for us. He saved the show and for us.”