Sheridan Smith’s controversial play cancelled two months early after being slammed by critics

Sheridan Smith

Smith's new play Opening Night divided critics

Olivia Gantzer

By Olivia Gantzer

Published: 11/04/2024

- 19:59

Updated: 11/04/2024

- 20:18

The actress' show reportedly saw people 'walking out' before it had ended

Sheridan Smith’s West End musical Opening Night has been cancelled two months earlier than planned following reports audience members "walked out".

Smith, 42, played a star battling mental health problems in the play, but following some mixed reviews the production is being closed early.

The news was announced on Thursday, with MailOnline reporting the production team had stated the musical "may not have had the life we had hoped for."

It comes after the publication reported that at least 50 audience members left during the interval on two separate evenings last month.

The show divided reviewers, with The New York Times describing it as a "sludgy travesty," and Express labelling it a "catastrophic musical misfire."

However, Time Out called Smith’s performance "superb" and the Guardian described the show as "glittering and extravagantly original."

Sheridan Smith

The actress' play has been cancelled two months earlier than scheduled


Part of the play involved Sheridan filming from outside the Gielgud Theatre as her character Myrtle collapsed in a drunken state.

Producers have now said the play, which was directed by Ivo Van Hove and featured music by Rufus Wainwright, was "always a risk".

Van Hove went on to say it was "always sad" when a show is cut short.

In a statement announcing the closure, he called Smith "exceptional" and noted how she "had the bravery to play such a complex role in the West End."

Sheridan Smith

It has been reported people 'walked out' of the play


He added: "I know that Opening Night will live long in the memories of those who saw it and made it."

Producers Wessex Grove stated: "In a challenging financial landscape, Opening Night was always a risk and, while the production may not have had the life we had hoped for, we feel immensely proud of the risk we took and of this extraordinary production.

"Our world class cast delivers a brilliant show night after night, and there are still five weeks left to see Sheridan Smith in the role of a lifetime."

The show had been scheduled to end on July 27, but the last performance will now be on May 18.

Smith in Opening Night

Part of the play involved Sheridan filming from outside the Gielgud Theatre


Smith recently described the role her "most challenging yet." Speaking to the BBC, she said the character was "close to the bone" following her own mental health problems which saw her temporarily pulling out of Funny Girl in the West End in 2016.

She told the broadcaster "I had a wobble, covered myself in a tattoos.

"I lost a lot of confidence around that time, but it has come back thankfully, due to friends and supportive people."

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