Sheridan Smith on The One Show

Sheridan Smith begs fans for their support over play as she details ‘pressure’

Theatregoers haven't been impressed with Opening Night…

She may be one of Britain’s most celebrated actresses, but fans aren’t too impressed with Sheridan Smith‘s latest play.

The 42-year-old actress has returned to the West End to take on the leading role of Myrtle Gordon, a functioning alcoholic actress, in the play Opening Night. The production is an adaption of the 1977 film starring Gena Rowlands.

Despite Smith’s star power, the production has faced criticism from fans, leading the actress to send out a plea.

In an interview with Scott Mills, the actress opened up about her anxiety. She said: “I get terrified, it’s worse as I get older. I was fearless when I moved to London. Now, there’s so much pressure.”

Speaking to Scott about the show, Sheridan begged listeners: “It’s absolutely fascinating and fun… please come!”

Sheridan Smith begs fans to see her new show
Sheridan Smith begs fans to see her new play (Credit: BBC)

Audience members walk out of Sheridan Smith’s new play

Unfortunately, fans who have seen the show aren’t convinced. In a Daily Mail article, it was reported that at least 50 audience members walked out before the interval last week.

Speaking to the staff at the Gielgud Theatre, it’s claimed this was a regular occurrence.

“I didn’t have a clue what was going on,” one complained. “It’s not Sheridan – she’s a great actress – but I was falling asleep.”

Another theatregoer added: “It was too wacky for me. I loved Sheridan Smith but I didn’t know where it was going and it was all very disjointed and chaotic.”

The lukewarm reception has taken a toll on ticket sales, and prices have now been discounted by almost 40% in a last-ditch effort to fill up the seats.

Sheridan Smith on The Jonathan Ross Show
Sheridan is back on stage. (Credit: ITV)

Sheridan returns to the stage

However – despite the audience’s opinions – critics have raved about Sheridan’s performance – with critics calling her “superb” and “radiant”.

Time Out’s Andrzej Lukowski wrote: “Smith is wonderful: her fading starlet isn’t a hysterical diva but a clever woman facing a legitimate existential crisis.

“The cool, amused intelligence in Smith’s eyes is glorious…Smith has famously had her own struggles in recent years, and her performance is heartfelt but also surprisingly wry and mischievous.”

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline before the premiere, Sheridan shared her excitement about the role. She described it as an opportunity to confront her own demons: “It feels like a moment of taking back control. I feel like the part is a gift, it’s a gift of a part for any actress to play and I’m loving every minute of it, it’s such an honour. I can’t wait for people to see it now.”

Read more: The Teacher on Channel 5: Sheridan Smith drama gets second series, with Kara Tointon in lead role

Sheridan Smith and the cast of Opening Night perform The Pantomime

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