May 3 2008 By Kevan Christie
A SICK actor collapsed on stage – at the same time as his character was meant to have a heart attack and die.
Steve Dineen was taken to hospital after he keeled over during the dramatic finale of Mike Leigh’s famous comedy Abigail’s Party.
In the play, lead character Laurence dies of a heart attack in the final minutes and Dineen was moments away from acting out the death.
So when he fell suddenly to the floor, the audience at Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre thought it was just part of his impressive performance.
But co-star Alice Selwyn noticed Dineen’s struggle was genuine and came out of character to ask for a doctor.
The actor was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and kept in overnight for tests.
The theatre’s marketing officer, Paul Brunton, said last night: “It was very traumatic at the time because it coincided with the exact moment where Steve’s character was about to have a heart attack.
“It was almost like real life imitating art.
“Thankfully, Steve is going to be OK. We’ve had lots of phone calls from the audience to check on him, which has been nice.”
Theatre spokeswoman Rachel Menzies added: “It had been going fantastically well up until that point, so it was quite a shock.
“When it became clear to some of the other actors that he wasn’t acting any more and that he was in some distress, they asked for the show to be halted.
“The ambulance was here in a matter of minutes.”