THE CURSE of a murder mystery appears to have continued after a performance was halted when an audience member was taken ill.
Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park Theatre production of Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee was stopped for half an hour on Wednesday after a man in the front stalls collapsed.
It follows the cancellation of the production on Monday night when the theatre lights went out.
Both incidents took place at almost the same point in the production.
A spokeswoman for the theatre confirmed the incident during the Wednesday matinee.
She said: “A gentleman in the audience was very unfortunately taken ill and paramedics were called. He was with his partner and a couple of nurses who happened to be in the audience were able to assist him.”
An ambulance, paramedic car and a community first response officer were on the scene at 3.45pm – an hour and 15 minutes into the thriller.
The star of the play Robert Powell, who plays the famous Belgium detective Poirot, appeared on stage to announce the performance was being paused and the second interval was brought forward before the play continued.
A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB) said: “We were called at 3.45pm. One ambulance and one car attended along with a first response officer.
“On arrival a man in his 60s was unresponsive. He was taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital.”
On Monday an electrical fault plunged the theatre into darkness, leading to the cancellation of the production. A spokeswoman for the theatre told The Argus that they had no option but to cancel due to health and safety.
She said: “We apologised to the audience and advised them they could have replacement tickets for later in the week or obtain a refund.”
The play tells the story of the murder of the eccentric Sir Claud Amory and subsequent investigation. The inventor is killed on a quintessential English country estate and his earth shattering new formula is stolen.
The first play ever written by Agatha Christie introduces the legendary detective Hercule Poirot, played by Robert Powell.
The production runs until Saturday. Tickets are still available from £14.50. To book visit www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk.