Some of the preview performances have had to be cancelled, of which the producers of McQueen have said, “With all the changes that were being made to the production for the transfer to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, we needed a longer technical rehearsal period than we’d originally allowed in the schedule and, in order to be totally ready to present the production in front of an audience, we took the difficult decision to cancel the first few previews. The first preview performance will now be on the evening of Saturday 22 August.” The press night will go ahead, as planned, on Thursday 27 August.
McQUEEN, which received its world premiere in May at St. James Theatre, where it broke box office records, will transfer to London’s West End, opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on Thursday 27 August, following previews from 22 August, for a strictly limited season until 7 November.
Written by James Phillips and directed by John Caird, the production stars award-winning actor Stephen Wight in the title role. Janet McQueen, one of Lee Alexander McQueen’s sisters, said of the play and the production at St. James Theatre, “It was as though the play and Stephen’s performance brought Lee back to me again. I felt as though he was real again for me.” Gary McQueen, Lee’s nephew, added, “It does really hit something in your heart.”
Joining Stephen in the West End run will be Carly Bawden in the role of Dahlia. The role was originated by Dianna Agron who is not participating in the transfer due to filming commitments. Reprising their roles as Isabella Blow and Arabella will be Tracy-Ann Oberman and Laura Rees respectively. Michael Bertenshaw will be joining the cast as Mr Hitchcock. Also in the cast will be Harry Alexander, Sophie Apollonia, Amber Doyle, George Hill, Eloise Hymas, Amelia Jackson, Rachel Louisa Maybank, Jessica Buckby and Andrei Teodor Iliescu.
Our previous review of McQueen at St James Theatre London
Who was Alexander McQueen? It’s been five years since his death. Many events, included retrospective exhibitions, have taken place to commemorate the designer’s internationally acclaimed work as four-time winner of the ‘British Designer of the Year’ award. McQueen, a play dedicated to the fashion genius, has opened at St James Theatre with a fiery script by James Phillips with director John Caird. Read the full review here.
For the transfer to the West End, scenes have been rewritten and an interval has been added. James Phillips said, “I’m so delighted to have McQueen in the West End, and to take this opportunity to refine some things from the original production. For me, it’s also thrilling that we’re going into the Theatre Royal Haymarket, as it was in this theatre that I had my first ever professional job, a few months after leaving college. I was a peasant – a silent role! – in Miss Julie starring Christopher Eccleston, Aisling O’Sullivan and Maxine Peake that Thelma Holt produced. It really is one of the most beautiful theatres I’ve ever been in.”
McQUEEN is a journey into the visionary imagination and dream world of Alexander McQueen, fashion’s greatest contemporary artist. Set on a single London night, it is more than a bio-play. It is stepping into the fairy story landscape of McQueen’s mind, the landscape seen in his immortal shows, where with a dress an urchin can become an Amazon, where beauty might just help us survive the night. A girl has watched McQueen’s Mayfair house for eleven consecutive days. Tonight she climbs down from her watching tree and breaks into his house, to steal a dress, to become someone special. He catches her, but, instead of calling the police, they embark together on a journey through London and into his heart.
Lee Alexander McQueen died on 11 February 2010 aged 40. Born in Lewisham and raised in Stratford, East London, at 16 he served an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard. Later, he studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design and his graduation collection was bought in its entirety by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow. He was appointed head designer at Givenchy in 1996, where he remained until 2001.
He founded his own Alexander McQueen label, and the Gucci Group acquired 51% of his company in 2000, with McQueen serving as Creative Director. McQueen achieved the title British Designer of the Year four times between 1996 and 2003, and was also awarded the CBE and named International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers in 2003. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a posthumous exhibition of McQueen’s work in 2011 titled Savage Beauty. The exhibition is currently being shown at the V&A until 2 August.
Theatre Royal Haymarket
18 Suffolk Street
London SW1Y 4HT
Performances: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm* (no performance on Monday 31 August)
Thursdays and Saturdays at 3.00pm**
*7.00pm on Thursday 27 August
**No 3.00pm performances on Saturday 22 and Thursday 27 August
Running Time: 2 hours, including interval