Gemma Arterton pulls out of Nell Gwynn performance

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I’ve just got back from seeing Nell Gwynn. Last year I saw Gemma Arterton in Made in Dagenham and she was fantastic so I booked my ticket excited to see her onstage again. So imagine my disappointment when I arrived to discover that the actress was sick that night and would not be performing.

When I headed to London’s Apollo Theatre tonight I heard whispers that she wasn’t there as I collected my ticket – that’s when I saw the sign (below). I overheard many people kick off about it to the staff but what could they do? I was gutted – how typical! The play has been running since February and she gets ill TODAY?! WHYYY?!  My disappointment was not enough to make me reschedule for a different performance – I was ready to see it that day. And I also thought I should give the understudy Paige Carter are fair shot, after all, I had heard the play itself was a riot so I wasn’t seeing it just for Gemma, although that was a big part of the appeal.

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This is not the first experience I have had with celebrity no-shows – but what can you do when you book a ticket in advance? You don’t know what’s going to happen. I was more gutted when Nicole Scherzinger wasn’t performing the night I went to see Cats because I really wanted to hear her do Memory. Also she wasn’t sick – she was just busy (although her night off was not stated on the website).

At least Scherzy had a bit part – Gemma was meant to carry the whole thing and although Paige gave it her best, it just wasn’t the same. I imagine the show I saw was massively different to the usual Gemma show, so I won’t be doing a review. Paige just didn’t have the warmth, the bubbliness or the cheekiness that Gemma innately has. She was a bit wooden to begin with but warmed into the role but I imagine the laughs were bigger and harder with Gemma in the lead. I kept thinking ‘I wonder how Gemma does that’ in certain parts and it’s a shame. The play was still good fun, but I couldn’t help thinking how much better it would have been with Gemma. I hope she gets well soon.

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