Painful twists in Sheffield stage death

Manor Operatics Beauty and the Beast'Two Gastons - Injured Gary Rossiter and replacement Josh Gilby
Manor Operatics Beauty and the Beast'Two Gastons - Injured Gary Rossiter and replacement Josh Gilby
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The baddie always gets his comeuppance in fairy tales – but it happened a night too early at a new amateur production in Sheffield.

Disaster struck during Manor Operatic Society’s final rehearsal for Beauty and the Beast at Sheffield’s City Hall on Tuesday.

Gaston plunged to his death – leaving actor Gary Rossiter lying in agony with a broken collarbone.

Members of the amateur dramatics team rushed him to the city’s Northern General Hospital in Fir Vale – still wearing his stage make-up – where the extent of his injuries became clear.

And, while they were waiting for Gary to be treated, co-director Linda Kelly pleaded with chorus member Josh Gilby to step into the breach.

But, with Josh expected at work in the morning, he had just three hours to get the correct moves and words for virtually every scene in the two-hour show.

So, the curtain rose for the opening night on Wednesday with Gary in the orchestra pit, singing his part, while Josh jumped into the deep end and stepped out on stage to act and mime his way through the key role.

Director Richard Bradford heaped praise on the pair and said everyone had suffered a sleepless night.

He said Gary was taking weaker painkillers than usual for such an injury, in a bid to ensure he could tie his singing in with Josh’s acting as closely as possible.

Richard said: “We couldn’t believe it happened less than 24 hours before opening.”