Mamma Mia! star Caroline Deverill (Donna) picked up a calf injury last night that unfortunately forced her offstage. With no understudy available, Philip Effemey, the general manager of the show, was faced with the possibility of having to cancel the performance. It was then revealed that Steph Parry, who is a standby for Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street, was nearby. The actress was already familiar with the role of Donna, having played the part on a cruise ship last year and also having covered for the role five years ago at the Novello Theatre.
When Parry received the fateful call last night from her manager asking if she could run next door, she was casually just eating carrots and houmous backstage at the Theatre Royal. She had no idea that she was needed for the role of Donna until she arrived at the stage door of the Novello Theatre, where she was promptly thrown into costume and make-up. Parry asked where in the show they had left off, and in a just a matter of moments, she found herself in front of a packed audience as Donna Sheridan, giving true meaning to the phrase, "The show must go on."
While the choreography in the current production was different from what she had been familiar with, she managed to pull through with a bit of guidance from her co-stars. According to Parry, the audience was 'marvelous' last night. From understudy to star of the show in just 18 minutes, Steph Parry is certainly a name we'll be hearing a lot more often in London's West End!
Deverill was already on her way to the hospital as Parry was running to the rescue and we wish her a speedy recovery!
Mamma Mia! tickets are booking now until 2 March 2019. Purchase your tickets to Mamma Mia! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane here.