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Damian Lewis tore eardrum before play opening

Damian Lewis was "high as a kite on performance-enhancing drugs" during opening night.

Damian Lewis almost fainted onstage after perforating his eardrum hours before the opening of his West End play on Wednesday night (05Apr17).

The former Homeland actor fell ill after catching a cold from co-star Sophie Okonedo so he saw an emergency doctor during the day on Wednesday, and was told he had a "great big hole" in his eardrum and an infection of the middle ear.

The infection had left him partially deaf and Damian feared it might affect his balance, but the 46-year-old forged ahead with the opening night of Edward Albee’s The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia? at London's Theatre Royal Haymarket.

However, he admitted afterwards the bad ear did affect his performance during one scene where he feared he might collapse.

"There was one point in act three where I had to hold a chair because I was going to pass out and I had to stoop down to pick up a ruined painting," he told the Standard. "When I came up from there I thought I was going to pass out so I held on to a chair.”

He also confessed he had been “high as a kite on performance-enhancing drugs, which luckily aren’t illegal in the theatre, but I’ve got tremendous pain in my right ear at the moment because of the pressure."

In the revival, Damian plays a married architect who falls in love with a goat, and Sophie plays his wife. She had suffered from the cold which seemed to pass through the company in the past four or five weeks and it affected her performance when it opened for previews.

"He caught it from me," she told the BBC after the show. "I had it all last week and I lost my voice completely on the first night. I was croaking all the way through. He was really ill tonight, poor thing."

The production has received vastly mixed reviews, with the Guardian's theatre critic giving it five stars and the Daily Mail's only giving it one.

It runs until 24 June (17).

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