August 10, 2022

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Taron’s stint in West End play Cock was cut short (Picture: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) Welsh...
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Taron’s stint in West End play Cock was cut short (Picture: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Welsh actor Taron Egerton has explained the heartbreaking reason why he pulled out of Mike Bartlett’s West End play Cock, just weeks after his debut. 

Taron was lined up for the new production alongside Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey, with the pair set to play the two leads.

However, Rocketman actor Taron’s stint got off to a rocky start, after he fainted on stage on the opening night.

The announcement then came he had dropped out of the play came after he was replaced when he tested positive for Covid-19 by understudy Joel Harper-Jackson, who then stayed in his role. 

However, it was not expanded at the time on Taron’s reasoning for quitting the show, which he has now shared in a new interview. 

‘Toward the end of last year, a close family member was diagnosed with cancer, and I dropped out of a film to come home and be with that person,’ he explained.

The One Show viewers in hysterics at presenters' attempts to avoid saying NSFW name of Jonathan Bailey and Taron Egerton's play
Taron was due to star for the whole run of Mike Bartlett’s play (Picture: BBC)

‘I thought that, with the play, I was ready to go back to work, but I wasn’t. 

‘I had to leave, and it was sad, and absolutely one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,’ he told The New York Times.

The play centres around John (played by Jonathan Bailey), a man who falls in love with a woman (Jade Anouka) after taking a break from his long-term boyfriend M, who was played by Taron. 

Joanthan Bailey and Joel Harper-Jackson in Cock
Jonathan Bailey (L) and Joel Harper-Jackson (R) in Cock (Picture: Matt Crockett)

In a statement released by the Twitter account for the play, a revival of Mike Bartlett’s 2009 production Cock at London’s Ambassador Theatre, it said that understudy Joel would take over the role of M previously played by Taron.

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‘Joel Harper-Jackson will take over the role of M in Mike Bartlett’s razor-sharp, hilarious play Cock until the end of the run,’ it said.

The statement added: ‘The part was originally played in this production by Taron Egerton, who has had to withdraw from the production due to personal reasons.’

His replacement Joel previously admitted to Metro.co.uk that he was in ‘two minds’ over whether to accept his initial contract as understudy, which came with no performance guarantees.

Joel had been acting as the dual understudy for both the leading men before taking over from Taron.

He’d been offered the role from a self-tape for director Marianne Elliot with no recall, a rarity in acting, and decided that ‘it would be stupid’ not to take it considering the ‘high calibre’ of the production’s team.

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