McQueen is a journey into the imagination and dark dream world of fashion’s greatest contemporary artist, Alexander McQueen…
New to the West End for a limited time, McQueen is inspired by the life of the late fashion designer and visionary artist Alexander McQueen. The story takes place in London over a single night and depicts the emotional struggles he faced towards the end of his life.
Written by British playwright James Phillips, directed by John Caird and starring Stephen Wight and Carly Bawden, the play follows McQueen through a whistle stop tour of his past, driven by an imaginary encounter with a troubled girl who breaks into the designer’s home to steal a dress and is caught by McQueen. As fans of McQueen could expect, he returns to where it all began – at Saville Row – and includes an emotional encounter with his late friend and style icon Isabella Blow.
Known for his contemporary collections as well as the unique theatricality of his catwalk shows, Alexander McQueen’s iconic fashion career ended abruptly when he took his own life in 2010.
As the audience enters the auditorium, Stephen Wight’s McQueen is anxiously pacing the stage, wringing the belt between his hands, immediately evoking the sense that McQueen is contemplating a dark fate. The journey McQueen and his imaginary companion take throughout the play continues this theme, focusing on the foreboding question; will beauty help them survive the night?
Stephen Wight brings McQueen to life through an emotive performance which shows both McQueen’s disregard for the norm and his intense love of beauty and design, all wrapped up in a moody and eccentric package. Carly Bawden’s upbeat performance of the untouchable Dahlia contrasts McQueen at the start of the play until she brilliantly transforms into a vulnerable lonely girl who has nothing to live for.
Tracy-Ann Oberman embodied every bit of the vampiric essence of McQueen’s version of Blow, while mesmerising and lavish choreography play homage to McQueen’s own shows ,bringing mannequins and the city to life.
This play is not just for lovers of the fashion world or McQueen, as the exquisite costumes, contemporary set design and great music from the 90s and noughties make for a truly stunning show. But foremost the play is a thought-provoking and must-see for anyone who wants to experience a dark, and at times amusing, exploration of a troubled soul.
McQueen runs at Theatre Royal Haymarket until 7 November 2015. Book online or call the box office on 020 7930 8800