LONDON — Sienna Miller went from second banana to West End lead Thursday night in the new West End production of “As You Like It,” filling in at short notice for star Helen McCrory, who was suffering from gastroenteritis.
It was a momentous evening for the 23-year-old actress. Before opening June 21 to mixed reviews as Celia in Shakespeare’s play, Miller had never professionally appeared onstage. Within two days of the press night, she was essaying the part of Rosalind, the longest and — arguably — richest women’s role in Shakespeare’s works.
At the same day’s matinee, McCrory stopped the show well into the second act and, weeping, told the audience she was too unwell to continue. The performance was then aborted, with Britain’s ongoing heat wave thought to have exacerbated McCrory’s condition.
By the evening show, a decision was made to move all the women up a role.
Prior to the show, the play’s director, David Lan, told the audience that the performance they were about to see would “be a collector’s edition.”
The hope is that McCrory will be back in the production today.
She and Miller appear together in the upcoming Lasse Hallstrom film about Casanova.