The Second Woman: Ruth Wilson fans queue for hours to watch Luther star in ‘astonishing’ 24-hour play

The Second Woman: Ruth Wilson fans queue for hours to watch Luther star in ‘astonishing’ 24-hour play

Ruth Wilson fans have queued for hours to see the actor perform in her 24-hour play The Second Woman.

At 4pm on Friday (19 May), the Luther star began the performance at London’s Young Vic theatre, which will see her perform the same seven-minute scene 100 times in 24 hours.

Each time Wilson performs the two-hander scene – about a relationship that has lost its spark – she will appear opposite a new male or non-binary performer.

Most of the performers joining Wilson on stage are not actors, with the 41-year-old never having met them before. Wilson is given 15 minutes to rest every two hours.

Andrew Scott and Idris Elba are among the actors who have appeared opposite Wilson in the show.

As the performance continued through the night and into Saturday (20 May) morning, fans queued around the Waterloo venue in order to see Wilson at work. Once inside, audience members can stay and watch for as long as they like.

At 3am, the theatre tweeted that the waiting time for the queue was approximately three hours.

Later, at 9.30am on Saturday morning, they warned prospective audience members that the queue had reached maximum capacity, meaning the chance of now joining and getting in was extremely low.

Wilson in rehearsal for ‘The Second Woman' (Beatrice Debney)
Wilson in rehearsal for ‘The Second Woman' (Beatrice Debney)

However, those lucky enough to enter the Young Vic were left in awe of Wilson’s stamina and performance.

The Second Woman @youngvictheatre is astonishing,” wrote playwright Jo Harper. “And highly addictive, I watched 14 Hours. Wish I’d stayed, wanted to, tore myself away. It is like nothing else, it is generous and needy and exhausting and exhilarating.”

The Second Woman @youngvictheatre is simply stunning. Ruth Wilson is a goddess,” another tweet read.

One audience member wrote: “I’m about to hit hour 8 of watching The Second Woman, this is mad but brilliant. #TheQueue still standing strong, at least there’s some sun now! Have no idea how Ruth Wilson is doing this.”

The first performer to appear opposite Wilson was Nimi Owoyemi, a 19-year-old law student from Manchester, who said of the experience: “It was bosh.”

Owoyemi toldThe Times that he was sent a “very loose” script and was asked to “fill in the blanks” during the performance.

“There is no wrong answer,” he said. “It’s your show, your moment, your scene. The stage manager came and got me, and Ruth was already on stage. Then you’re in and you’re out. It was just great fun.”

Wilson will conclude her performance of The Second Woman at 4pm on Saturday.