The audience who settled in for the opening night of Damian Lewis' new West End play, The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia? were surely expecting a show to rival his performances in Homeland or Billions.
Instead critics noted a strange turn from the Golden Globe winner, with the Telegraph noting he appeared off-balance with "sharply angled movements" and "oddball nasal inflections".
Lewis has since revealed that he was diagnosed with a perforated eardrum just hours before the curtain went up and subsequently was "high as a kite" on painkillers.
The ear-infection effected his balance so badly that Lewis feared he would faint on stage and his strange nasal accent was due to a severe cold.
"There was this awful cold that was passed around the company in the last four or five weeks and I held out until about four days ago," Lewis told the Evening Standard.
"I had this streaming cold. The catarrh all transferred into my ear. I went to an emergency doctor at about three o'clock and he had a look in there and said, 'You've got a great big hole in your eardrum and you've got an infection of the middle ear."
Playing the real-life hero Lewis continued with the performance but admitted, "there was one point in act three where I had to hold onto a chair because I was going to pass out".
He joked that he was "high as a kite on performance-enhancing drugs, which luckily aren't illegal in the theatre. But I've got tremendous pain in my right ear at the moment because of the pressure."
You can't say the man hasn't had to suffer for his art.