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David's back for show after heart scare

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:43 01 August 2010

THE Beccles-based Spotlight Theatre Group was dealt a tragic blow last June when three performances of its summer musical had to be cancelled after the son of a lead player was rushed to hospital.

THE Beccles-based Spotlight Theatre Group was dealt a tragic blow last June when three performances of its summer musical had to be cancelled after the son of a lead player was rushed to hospital.

Debbie Lambert, who played Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd, was forced to stay by her son David's side after he suddenly developed a rare heart condition.

A year on, however, and Debbie Lambert will once again take to the stage for Spotlight's latest production- and David will be demonstrating his full recovery by taking on a feature role in the performance.

David Johnson, 14, who is a student at the Sir John Leman High School, will play the major role of Babyfaced Blackheart in Heavens Below- an entirely original production penned by Spotlight member Stephen Picton.

It will be David's first role with Spotlight, having played piano and helped backstage for past performances. As well as performing with his mother, who has been cast as one of the “Helle's Belles,” he will be joined on stage by his 13-year-old sister Emily.

David said that he was looking forward to the performance, although he admitted it would be nerve-wracking.

“It feels like I've made it back!” he said. “I want to spend this one on stage rather than being on a bed.”

Last summer the show had gone ahead as planned for the first three performances, but David was taken ill on the morning of the Friday show and was later told he had a trial fibrillation- a condition so rare in teenagers that their GP had never heard of it in a boy of his age. The Friday and Saturday shows had to be cancelled as there was no understudy and Mrs Lambert was desperate to stay with David.

Mrs Lambert said that David has now made a full recovery, and is back to his old energetic self.

“It's such a shame that it had to be cancelled, it was dreadful timing,” said Mrs Lambert. “It will be good to get up there again. It will be emotional. I just hope people come and see this one because I think the future of this group relies on people supporting it.”

Heavens Below has been written by Stephen Picton, who also penned Spotlight's version of Wind in the Willows that played at Christmas. It is a spoof of post-war Hollywood movies, with a spiritual element, and has a large cast of angels, devils and sinners. The score has songs ranging from swing to 50's Hollywood kitsch.

It will be performed at Beccles Public Hall from June 22- 26. For more information visit www.spotlightbeccles.org.uk.

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