Dame’s panto injury ordeal
Show goes on with crutches for panto star
Pantomime dame Ben Roddy has taken to the stage on crutches for performances at the Marlowe Theatre this week after rupturing his ankle just minutes before going on stage at the weekend.
As he walked to the theatre on Sunday, Mr Roddy, 43, turned his ankle prior to the matinee performance.
But after he “twinged it” again during a dance routine in the first half of the evening performance of Peter Pan, and by the interval he was in “eye-watering pain” and unable to walk.
Forced to miss the second half of the show, he was rushed to hospital by his wife with stars of the show having to fill in for him.
But, refusing to let the audience down, he was back in time for the next show – performing on crutches when the panto resumed on Tuesday afternoon.
He had been set to appear in a wheelchair, but just hours before the curtain went up, his GP gave him the all clear to swap the wheels for sticks.
Speaking this week, Mr Roddy, who plays Mrs Smee in the show, said: “The doctor said I should rest for three weeks, but obviously this is such an important time of the year and I couldn’t let everybody down.
“I turned my ankle on cobbles as I walked to the Marlowe and although it was painful I think the adrenalin of performing put it to the back of my mind.
“But I twinged it again during a dance routine very early in the evening show and by the interval the pain was eye-watering. I
thought I must have broken it, it was so painful.
“The doctor said the worst case scenario was that I would have to have surgery, so we’re going to make sure I don’t get to that stage. We’ll be careful and take things one day at a time. But, as the phrase goes, the show must go on.
“To be honest, it provides lots of extra jokes.”
His role in the second half of Sunday’s performance was absorbed by co-star and panto regular Lloyd Hollett rather than
ushering in Mr Roddy’s understudy. Producer Paul Hendy added: “In true showbusiness style, the cast pulled together and the show went on.
“Ben did the whole show on crutches which is no easy feat, especially as he has 12 costume changes. The audience understood and were incredibly supportive of him. Ben is a real trooper.”
This year’s panto, which stars Eastenders and Extras star Shaun Williamson, runs until January 14.
Ben Roddy on crutches after his accident with fellow actor Lloyd Hollett, who stood in for him