Simon Callow's one-man show, The Man Jesus, is halted after he falls ill on stage in Belfast
One of the UK's best-known actors was forced to abandon his new production on the life of Jesus after taking ill on stage in Belfast last night.
Simon Callow, renowned for his Royal Shakespeare performances and the hit film Four Weddings and a Funeral, complained of feeling unwell and had to be helped from the stage at the Lyric Theatre.
The drama unfolded around 10 minutes from the finish of his play, The Man Jesus.
It is due to premiere officially this evening.
One audience member told how the actor appealed for help after becoming faint.
"About 10 minutes from the end of the performance, Callow said 'I'm sorry, I'm going to have to end the performance now," he said.
"He complained of feeling faint and asked if someone could help him.
"Someone from the audience got onto the stage and took his arm, while someone from the back of the Lyric also came out and they took his other arm.
"The two people helped him off the stage."
According to people in the audience, Callow had complained of feeling unwell before the show.
"He seemed to be sweating profusely, he certainly halted on a couple of lines during the show," one said.
"There were indications that he wasn't feeling himself."
The production, a one-man play, examines the character of Jesus through the eyes of those around him, including his mother, brother and the religious elite.
Running from tonight until April 20, it brings Callow back to the city where he began his acting career.
However, the play's themes and promotional material have already attracted some controversy.
In a recent interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Callow described how he was looking forward to performing in Belfast.
"I'm thrilled to be back. It's just the most vivacious town," he said.
In a separate interview, Callow also revealed how his good health meant he never missed a show.
"I've never phoned in sick in my life. The only thing that has ever laid me low was chicken pox when I was a child," he said in 2010.
Simon Callow is a British actor, director and writer. He has appeared in films including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, Phantom of the Opera and the Hollywood blockbuster Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls.
As a stage actor, Simon has played some of the theatre's most iconic roles, ranging from Titus Andronicus, Mozart in Amadeus and Faust to Oscar Wilde in The Importance of Being Oscar.