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Taron Egerton has pulled out of the lead role in his West End play for “personal reasons”.

The Rocketman star, 32, starred in a 2009 revival of Mike Bartlett’s Cock at the Ambassadors Theater in London.

But he has been plagued by difficulties since the start of the race in March – fainting on the first night and then testing positive for Covid-19. He will be replaced by his understudy, Joel Harper-Jackson, who stepped in twice, for the rest of the race until June 4.

A statement from the producers said: “The role was originally played in this production by Taron Egerton, who had to step back from the production for personal reasons.

“Joel understudied the role and has been playing M for 10 days while Taron was absent from production after testing positive for Covid.”

Director Marianne Elliott said: “Joel is an absolute hero. He’s a brilliant and gifted actor and he stepped into the role at extremely short notice. The audience is on their feet and applauding, and so am I.

Co-star Jonathan Bailey, who also stars in Bridgerton, added: “Joel is a huge talent and we couldn’t be luckier to have him on board. I am proud to continue to share the stage with him.

On the show’s opening night, Egerton passed out on stage and was treated by a doctor in the audience, and Harper-Jackson stepped in to end the play.

After the initial incident, Egerton reassured fans that he was “absolutely fine”, but had “a sore neck and a bruised ego”.

He vowed to be “back with a vengeance” and thanked Harper-Jackson.

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