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David Birrell Sues Donmar Warehouse For Gun Misfire That Left Him Blind In One Eye

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Theater actor David Birrell is suing London's Donmar Warehouse for $400,000 after a replica gun misfire on stage left him blind in one eye, the BBC reports.

According to court papers, the incident left him with "permanent blindness in the right eye" and has put him "at a disadvantage on the labour market," both functionally and cosmetically. (Head over to the Telegraph to see how it's affected his appearance.)

The incident occurred during a performance of Stephen Sondheim's musical, "Passion," in October of 2010. The prop gun ejected "rearwards" during a scene in which his character challenges another to a duel. According to the Daily Mail, Birrell, who was 35 at the time, left the stage without the audience realizing what had happened.

The Donmar Warehouse has admitted liability for the accident, but claim that they didn't have a chance to inspect the gun before it was taken away as part of a criminal investigation. Therefore, they're denying negligence and are reserving the right to file a claim against the company that supplied the gun, History in the Making Ltd. History in the Making shot back, claiming that the real problem was the "defective ammunition" the theater used.

Birrell is an active West End stage actor who often stars in Sondheim musicals. Most recently, he was seen in Sondheim's "Company," and he won a Critics' Award for Theatre in Scotland for his portrayal of the titular role in "Sweeney Todd." He's currently partaking in Regent's Park Open Air Theatre lineup as Theseus in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

This incident isn't the first of its kind on stage -- also in 2010, Royal Shakespeare Company actor Darrell D'Silva, shot himself in the hand during a modern revival of Antony and Cleopatra. In 2009, rehearsals for a production of "Of Mice and Men" in Florida ground to a halt when actor Bill Bordy shot off his costar Fred Kellerman's ear. Doctors were able to reattach his ear.

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