Taron Egerton quits lead role in West End play for ‘personal reasons’ | Stage

Taron Egerton has withdrawn from the lead role in his West End play due to “personal reasons”.

The Rocketman star, 32, had been performing in a revival of Mike Bartlett’s 2009 play Cock at London’s Ambassadors Theatre.

But he has been beset by difficulties since starting the run in March – fainting during the first night and then testing positive for Covid-19. He will be replaced by his understudy, Joel Harper-Jackson, who stepped in on both occasions, for the remainder of the run until 4 June.

A statement from the producers said: “The part was originally played in this production by Taron Egerton, who has had to withdraw from the production due to personal reasons.

“Joel understudied the role and has been playing the part of M for the past 10 days while Taron was absent from the production having tested positive for Covid.”

Director Marianne Elliott said: “Joel is an absolute hero. He is a brilliant and gifted actor and stepped into the role at extremely short notice. Audiences have been standing and cheering and so am I.”

Co-star Jonathan Bailey, who also stars in Bridgerton, added: “Joel is an immense talent and we couldn’t be luckier to have him on board. I am proud to continue sharing the stage with him.”

During the show’s opening night, Egerton fainted on stage and was attended to by a doctor in the audience, and Harper-Jackson stepped in to finish the play.

After the initial incident, Egerton reassured fans he was “completely fine”, but had suffered a “sore neck and a bruised ego”.

He vowed to be “back with a vengeance” and thanked Harper-Jackson.