Sheridan Smith out of Funny Girl with stress
Sheridan Smith has pulled out of appearing in 'Funny Girl' for the next few weeks due to "exhaustion and stress".
The 34-year-old actress - whose beloved father Colin was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year - was recently faced with claims she was drunk on stage during the West End show, with the performance subsequently cancelled due to "technical difficulties", and she has pulled out of performances all this week.
And now producers of the production, which is staged at the Savoy Theatre, have announced she will not be appearing for "two to four weeks" while she gets the "rest and support she needs".
They said in a statement: "Sheridan Smith will be taking a leave of absence from 'Funny Girl' due to stress and exhaustion.
"The entire team at 'Funny Girl' is thinking of Sheridan, and know she is getting the rest and support she needs during this difficult and stressful time.
"We will all miss her enormously and send her our love and best wishes - and we are looking forward to her return to the show in due course."
They also confirmed understudy Natasha Barnes, who has "received high praise from audiences" while stepping in for the 'Cilla' star, will take over the role of Fanny Brice during Sheridan's leave of absence.
It was recently claimed Sheridan's friends have urged her to "get some help" after causing concern by becoming increasingly isolated over the last few months.
A source said: "Her dad's diagnosis was a bolt from the blue. She is trying to be strong but she isn't answering her phone, and has cocooned herself away from lots of her mates.
"We want her to get the help she needs - that anyone would need under the circumstances."
Another pal added: "Friends have offered to be there for her during this difficult period.
"People want to wrap her up and look after her. A close circle of friends have seen a change in her and know she's vulnerable."