British Actor Shot in Eye After Gun Malfunctions During Performance

UK’s Daily Mail

An actor in a musical was seriously injured after being accidentally shot during an on-stage duel at one of London’s most celebrated theatres.

David Birrell, 35, was hit in the face at the Saturday matinee performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion at the Donmar Warehouse.

Amazingly, he managed to complete the performance before being taken to hospital where he is being treated for a serious eye injury. The musical has been suspended until Thursday.
David Birrell

Injured: David Birrell (seen here in Spamalot) was hit in the face at the Saturday matinee performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion at the Donmar Warehouse. He was taken to hospital where he is being treated for a serious eye injury

Mr Birrell, who plays Colonel Ricci, was hurt during a scene in which his character challenges another to a duel.

It appears that there was a fault with the gun, which should have fired blanks.

David Thaxton, who plays Giorgio, described Birrell as a ‘complete professional’, adding: ‘Though he was in pain, he was making jokes and being his humorous self when he came off stage.’

The incident echoes a similar incident in April when Darrell D’Silva, an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company, accidentally shot himself with a prop firearm.

Mr D’Silva, 46, was rehearsing the role of Antony in Shakespeare’s tragedy when he incurred the injury to his hand. He soon returned to the stage for previews with his hand bandaged up.

Audience members who saw Saturday’s incident reported seeing Mr Birrell being taken away by ambulance ‘looking shaken’.

His right eye had been bandaged and he is still receiving treatment at University College Hospital.

A Donmar spokesman said: ‘During the matinee performance of Passion on Saturday David Birrell sustained an injury to his eye for which he is currently being treated in hospital.
Donmar Warehouse

Cancelled: The incident took place at the Donmar Warehouse, in central London

‘Our priorities are to David’s well being and recovery; and to theatregoers who have purchased tickets for performances in the coming days.

‘We are cancelling the show Monday to Wednesday and then hope to resume performances from Thursday.

‘We will of course refund patrons who are unable to see the production.’

It is unclear when Mr Birrell, who has also starred in Monty Python’s Spamalot and had a number of TV roles, will be fit to return to work.

Staff are carrying out a thorough investigation to determine how the accident happened.

A number of people have posted blogs and tweeted about the incident.

Mr Birrell’s Passion co-star Simon Bailey wrote: ‘Thank you all, we had an incident this eve, I won’t divulge, but keep good thoughts for my friend please fellow twits xx’

Courtesy of the Doctors at Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care; Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Opticians working together to help you see better.  Serving the Rockville, Potomac and Gaithersburg Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC for over 40 years. For more information visit or call (301) 670-1212

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