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Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 11:22 GMT
Ill McCutcheon forced off stage
Martine McCutcheon as Eliza Doolittle
McCutcheon on stage with co-star Jonathan Pryce
Actress Martine McCutcheon has had to pull out of her starring stage role in My Fair Lady after being admitted to hospital in London with a serious throat and sinus infection.

McCutcheon, 24, is said to be "responding well to treatment" after being admitted on Tuesday. She is expected to be kept in until at least the beginning of next week and is expected to return to the production.

My Fair Lady officially opened at the National Theatre last week. But McCutcheon has not been able to appear as Eliza Doolittle since the weekend.

Martine McCutcheon as Eliza Doolittle
McCutcheon begins the show as a flower girl

McCutcheon's understudy Alexandra Jay, 18, has been standing in. She made her London stage debut when McCutcheon first felt unwell last week.

Dr Lawrence Garlis, medical consultant for the National Theatre on the South Bank, confirmed McCutcheon's illness.

"Martine McCutcheon was admitted to hospital with a virus infection and streptococcal throat infection," he said.

He added: "She is also suffering from a sinusitis and impaired blood clotting.

"We hope she will be discharged early next week but we wish to ensure her recovery is complete so as to avoid any relapse."

West End

Former EastEnder and pop star McCutcheon has only appeared in the show three times since its official opening.

But she has earned rave reviews for her role as guttersnipe Eliza who is transformed into a lady by upper class dialect expert Professor Higgins.

A spokesman for McCutcheon's publicity agent said she was "very upset" at having to miss the shows.

My Fair Lady also stars respected stage and TV actor Jonathan Pryce as the brutish Professor Higgins.

Former Sweeney and Minder star Dennis Waterman plays Alfred P Doolittle - Eliza's dustman dad.

The show and its current cast is expected to transfer in July to the West End's Theatre Royal Drury Lane - where it first opened in the UK 43 years ago and continued for five and a half years.

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See also:

15 Mar 01 | Entertainment
McCutcheon shines in Eliza debut
26 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Singer Martine exhausted
24 Feb 00 | Entertainment
From EastEnders to Eliza
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