Director Sir Peter Hall has apologised to Downton Abbey actress Laura Carmichael after he fell asleep during a West End performance of Uncle Vanya before mumbling during the play's final scene. Reports over the weekend suggested Sir Peter had been "heckling" Carmichael during her West End debut, though the legendary theatre director says he was merely disorientated after falling asleep. Is that worse? That might be worse.
Nevertheless, the whole thing is pretty comical and Hall said he had "enjoyed the evening, and the performance," though added, "Being rather aged I dropped off for a moment and on being woken by my wife I was briefly disorientated," reports BBC News. Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley in Downton Abbey, was making her appearance in London's West End in a new version of Chekhov's classic play at the Vaudeville Theatre. A report by The Telegraph over the weekend suggested Sir Peter had heckled, "It doesn't work and you don't work. It is not good enough. I could be at home watching television," which is a fairly specific accusation, though reportedly not true.
Others had enjoyed the performance, with The Guardian's Michael Billington giving it three stars and describing the play as "solidly capable rather than genuinely inspiring."