Kenneth Branagh play cancelled as rehearsals disrupted by ‘Covid-enforced absences’

Kenneth Branagh play cancelled as rehearsals disrupted by ‘Covid-enforced absences’
Producers said that some actors had been “robbed” of “more than two-thirds of the limited rehearsal time”

Kenneth Branagh’s latest theatre production has been cancelled due to an “increasing number of Covid-enforced absences” in rehearsals.

The actor was due to direct and star in a new production of Terence Rattigan’s The Browning Version at Riverside Studios in London next month.

However, on Monday (19 July), the show’s producers announced that the play would not be going ahead after rehearsals faced considerable disruptions due to cast members needing to self-isolate.

“Despite all company members observing strict Covid protocols, multiple company members have been robbed of more than two-thirds of the limited rehearsal time,” the statement from Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company and Fiery Angel reads, clarifying that these had been a mix of “some isolating, some actually unwell”.

“The first run-through was conducted with only four of the seven cast members able or allowed to perform. With a short run impossible to extend due to limited cast availability, delay is impractical. Therefore the very difficult decision to cancel has been made.”

The production had originally been intended as a fundraiser for drama school Rada, with the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company announcing via email to ticketholders that they would still be making a donation now that “the production is no longer viable or able to be staged successfully”.

Branagh’s show is the latest in a long line of productions to be affected by cast members needing to self-isolate.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Cinderella was forced to cancel both shows on Saturday (17 July) due to “Covid-related precautionary measures”.

Both Hairspray at the London Coliseum and Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner at the Royal Court also cancelled a week’s worth of shows earlier this month after members of the casts tested positive for coronavirus.

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