Actor Robert Glenister 'freezes' on stage as West End production halted

Harry Yorke
Robert Glenister was taken ill during a West End performance on Friday evening - amx

A West End production was halted on Friday night after one of its leading actors is said to have “lost it emotionally” on stage.

Robert Glenister, who is best known for his starring roles in BBC drama series Spooks and Hustle, was said to have“frozen up” during an evening performance of Glengarry Glen Ross at the Playhouse Theatre.

It comes two weeks after the theatre was forced to cancel a showing of David Mamet’s crime drama, when Glenister collapsed on-stage in front of hundreds of spectators.

Speaking after the incident, one audience member said that  Glenister had “suddenly” stopped mid-performance, before shouting “Oh god!” and falling to the floor clutching his chest.

“We thought it was part of the show at first. He was getting into it, shouting about how much he wanted sales when suddenly he stopped talking and just fell forward,” they added.

“Don Warrington held his head as if it was part of it. Then a production manager walked on stage and the curtains came down.”

The cast of Glengarry Glen Ross during the curtain call at the Playhouse Theatre

Following the controversy, a spokesman for Glengarry Glen Ross posted a statement online stating that the show had been cancelled because Glenister had been taken “ill”.

On Friday night members of the audience took to social media to express their concerns for the actor, who is stage managers later confirmed was “feeling better” after being taken ill.

Commenting on Twitter, one theatre goer wrote: “Never had this happen before. Watching [Glengarry Glen Ross] and Robert Glenister just froze up on stage.

“Looks like he lost it emotionally. Curtain down. Waiting to see what happens.”

Meanwhile, another wrote: “Something has happened to Robert Glenister on stage. Hope he is okay.”

Following an hour’s postponement, show managers on Friday night confirmed that the show would be resuming, with understudy Mark Carlisle taking the role of David Moss in Glenister’s absence.

The Pulitzer-winning play, which stars leading actors Christian Slater, Kris Marshall, Standley Townsend and Daniel Ryan, depicts the story of US real estate salesmen who must fight for their jobs when their boss announces he'll fire the worst performers by the end of the week.

The latest incident comes nearly a month after Glenister lost a legal case against HM Revenue and Customs over unpaid National Insurance Contributions dating back over a decade.

It is understood that Glenister, who was employed through a personal services company for tax purposes, is required to pay back up to £147,547.

Following the judgment, the actor told the Financial Times: “My case is one of a few hundred involving many of the UK's most successful actors... It is yet another unfair cash grab that treats genuinely self-employed actors as employees contrary to government policy. This is not a tax avoidance case and we are considering an appeal.”

A spokesman for Glenister said:  "During Act 1 of this evening’s performance of Glengarry Glen Ross, cast member Robert Glenister became unwell.

"The performance continued with understudy, Mark Carlisle, taking on the role of David Moss. We are pleased to report that Robert is feeling better and shows will continue as scheduled. "

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