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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Review: McQueen, the Play.

McQueen, The Play.
Tuesday 22nd September 2015.
Theatre Royal Haymarket

"McQueen will take you on a beautiful and haunting voyage into the visionary imagination and dark dream world of the late Alexander McQueen, fashion’s greatest contemporary artist."

In another installment of my best friend and my post-work adventures, we went to the London Fashion Week press screening of 'McQueen, the Play'. Of course, we hadn't realised it was press night and were the most underdressed in the audience (although seated two rows in front of Made in Chelsea's Mark-Francis Vandelli!) 

Inspired by the life of the late fashion designer, Alexander Lee McQueen, the play follows one night in the run up to his final collection. Before it even starts, Stephen Wight, playing McQueen, paces the stage, a brown belt in his hand - an ominous reminder of McQueen's final fate.

Interrupted in his thoughts by a young girl named Dahlia, who just wants a dress, the pair travel round McQueen's old haunts including the Savile Row tailors where he learnt his trade, a London nightclub, his late mother's living room, a church where he staged one of his infamous shows and a Stratford rooftop... all the while haunted by an ethereal ensemble cast of dancers who resemble the models and mannequins that consume his thoughts.

A haunting scene sees McQueen confront the spirit of the late Isabella Blow, the woman to whom he arguably owed his first success and who convinced the East London Lee to become haute couture's Alexander, at equal moments berating her and begging for her forgiveness.

Without spoiling the play's twists for those who are still hoping to see it, McQueen the play is an intense and haunting look into the mind of the tortured designer. With the character of Dahlia being entirely fictitious, it is not too far to view the whole production as an embodiment of McQueen's mind in his final days, weeks and months. The curtain fell to absolute silence in the audience, as everyone there knew exactly what happened next. 

Enjoyment is the wrong word to describe the production. Emotionally drained would be accurate. Either way, I'm extremely glad I got to see the play, although it only seeks to highlight what a loss the death of Alexander McQueen was.

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