• Curtains
search
or call us on 0845 505 8500

BLOG : Review: McQueen At The Theatre Royal Haymarket

Sunday 06 September 2015

By Tony Peters

James Phillips’ play about fashion designer Alexander McQueen transfers to the Theatre Royal Haymarket following a sell-out run off West End at the St James Theatre earlier in the year, with Stephen Wight reprising his role as McQueen.

Quite fittingly, McQueen is a feast for the eyes and an absolute triumph of design and choreography thanks to the stunning work of production designer David Farley, choreographer Christopher Marney, director John Caird and an ensemble of striking and hugely accomplished dancers. Even the simple act of getting furniture and props on and off stage is made a thing of entrancing beauty and no movement or small detail not crafted to perfection. If this were a contemporary dance production it would be a masterpiece.
 
But the ravishing tableaux created by the dancers are only part of the story and it’s the words in between that for me didn’t always work – often becoming pretentious and self absorbed just when you thought things were getting interesting.
 
The fragile and volatile McQueen is alone in his studio struggling to find ideas for a new collection and is grieving in the wake of the suicide of his mentor Isabella Blow when he is visited by the mysterious Dahlia, played by Carly Bawden. She has clearly been watching McQueen from a nearby tree for quite a while. But is she a stalker with dangerous intent, a ghost as McQueen at first thinks or, as she claims, just an admirer wanting him to make her a dress? The early exchanges between the two promise much being both witty and intelligent, but any intrigue isn’t sustained and the self-analysis and meaning of life pontificating becomes a little wearing after a while.
 
There are, however, some engaging moments; McQueen’s change of mood when an idea finally strikes him, a visit to the tailors where he learnt his craft and a nicely played encounter with Isabella. And the scene where McQueen talks to Dahlia about his sick mother is genuinely moving.
 
Performances from the two leads are excellent with Wight, who bears a striking resemblance to his character, making McQueen a person for whom we genuinely feel sympathy despite the outbursts. Carly Bawden is by turns feisty and vulnerable as Dahlia and super support comes from Tracy Ann Oberman as Isabella.
 
McQueen certainly has its moments and is a telling portrait of a tormented artist. But while it’s wonderful to look at, it’s ultimately a bit uneven to fully hold the attention throughout.

tags: Exhibition, Cheap Theatre Tickets, West End Favourites, Hot Tickets, Drama, Contemporary, Critic's Choice, Best Of British, Limited Run, Educational


By Tony Peters

Please note: Opinions expressed on the londontheatredirect.com blog are those of the relevant contributors, not of London Theatre Direct Ltd, its owners or staff. London Theatre Direct Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by contributors.

Why book London theatre tickets with us?

  • Official London theatre tickets
  • Direct connections to London theatres
  • Full member of the Society Of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)
  • Established 16 years
  • No transaction fees, no hidden charges
  • Free box office ticket collection or print at home tickets
  • Choose your seats from live interactive seating plans
  • Competitive pricing
  • Tickets you can trust
  • Secure purchase
  • Safe website
  • Over a million tickets sold to satisfied customers