After missing four performances as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard last week, fans waited with baited breath yesterday to hear if Glenn Close would be well enough to perform at last nights show.
At 1.47pm the news came from the English National Opera Twitter account to say “We’re sorry to announce Glenn Close is still unwell. @riajones67 will sing the role of Norma Desmond for tonight’s performance #ENOSunset“
Cue a whole host of people (who have understandably become curious to see understudy Ria Jones after the incredible reviews on her performance) announcing that they were booking tickets specifically to see the understudy perform as they had heard so much about her.
An hour and a half later, at 3.09pm, the English National Opera posted “UPDATE: Glenn Close WILL sing the role of Norma Desmond tonight. (Mon 25 April) #ENOSunset“
It is unclear whether Glenn Close made a miraculous recovery in those ninety minutes but ticket buyers were left baffled at the sudden change of mind.
According to reports from people who were at the show, an announcement was made before the performance to say that Glenn Close had the flu but insisted on performing anyway. What followed was apparently an uncomfortable performance where people feared she would fall down stairs as she croaked her way through the show.
Whilst the reasons for Glenn Close’s sudden decision to return to the show last night are unclear, it goes to answer the question being asked recently about whether angry ticket holders had the right to demand their money back if Glenn Close was too ill to perform. Would people rather she be forced onto the stage in poor condition, just so that they can get what they paid for? Or would they rather watch a top quality performance of a show they have paid to see with the understudy? It seems that when the show was announced, ticket buyers didn’t think to consider that a 69 year old woman might get sick during a five week run of a show. I just hope she hasn’t felt pressured into returning to the stage when she is not fully recovered.
West End Wilma
Read my recently blog on this topic ‘The show must go on… with (or without) the star performer’