Lily Allen hurried off stage during The Pillowman play in ‘emergency evacuation’

Lily Allen hurried off stage during The Pillowman play in ‘emergency evacuation’

Lily Allen was hurried off stage mid-performance in an emergency evacuation at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London, which turned out to be a false alarm.

The actor and former pop star is currently playing Katurian in the revival of Martin McDonagh’s Olivier Award-winning 2003 play The Pillowman.

McDonagh is best known for films such as 2022’s The Banshees of Inisherin, 2008’s In Bruges, and 2017’s Three Billboards Outside of Epping, Missouri.

During Wednesday’s matinee (23 August) performance, the cast and crew were rushed off stage amid an emergency evacuation. All audience members were also escorted outside the venue as a fire engine arrived at the scene.

A spokesperson for the London fire brigade told The Sun that they were called to the scene where they discovered it had been a false alarm.

“The theatre was evacuated as a precaution. A crew attended and following investigation, established there was no fire,” they said.

“The brigade was called at 3.11pm and the incident was over for firefighters by 3.24pm.”

Audiences were eventually able to re-enter the theatre and the performance resumed.

Lily Allen and Paul Kaye in Martin McDonagh’s ‘The Pillowman’ (Johan Persson)
Lily Allen and Paul Kaye in Martin McDonagh’s ‘The Pillowman’ (Johan Persson)

While waiting outside, several members of the audience shared their confusion on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

One person wrote: “Right in the middle of a gripping performance of The Pillowman at the Duke of York’s Theatre, we were evacuated.

“Fire brigade showed up a few minutes later. Not sure why yet, but the spell is broken, I’m afraid.”

This is not the first time that a production of The Pillowman has been halted.

Earlier this month, Allen paused the play after noticing that an audience member had collapsed during her monologue.

Allen reportedly noticed the woman falling ill and raised the alarm. The production was supposedly halted for around 30 minutes before the action resumed.

Neither Allen nor the Duke of York’s Theatre responded to request for comment at the time.

On its website, The Pillowman is described as “electrifying and savagely funny”.

“In a totalitarian state, a writer is questioned by the authorities about a spate of murders that bear similarities to her short stories,” a synopsis of the production reads. “Is this life imitating art or something more sinister?

"This black comedy, widely regarded as one of the greatest plays of the past 25 years, examines the role of the artist in society and asks what price do we pay for freedom of expression?"

Although The Pillowman received four stars overall from The Independent, reviewer Jessie Thompson considered Allen’s performance as “one-note”, explaining: “Allen doesn’t give the role the same complexity as her more experienced castmates, which can feel frustrating.”

You can read the full review here.

Following the mixed reviews of her performance in The Pillowman, the “LDN” singer said that she hopes to attend drama school for a year.

“I’ve applied to drama school for a year, so we’ll see if I get in,” Allen, responding to a fan’s question during an Instagram Q&A.

When asked what her goals were, she replied: “To create from a place of truth and to not care how things are received so much.”