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McQueen at St James theatre

Published 20 May 2015

What’s it all about?

Steve? No. The other Steve? Still no. Alexander? You got it!

Yes, those who have somehow avoided the hype surrounding the world premiere of James Phillips’ latest play should know that this is not about the late American actor or the Oscar-winning film director, but one of Britain’s most revolutionary fashion designers.

Directed by Les Mis’ John Caird, the show gives audiences an insight into McQueen’s creative yet disturbed mind, exploring his battle with depression and anxiety, his relationship with the similarly fated Isabella Blow and the thought processes behind his incredible work.

A difficult story to tell if ever there was one, but the production does it through the tale of a young American girl who enters McQueen’s Mayfair house to steal one of the designer’s iconic creations. On discovering Dahlia, he could easily call the police, but instead he chooses to take her on a journey across London, visiting individuals – both dead and alive – who he’s encountered throughout his troubled life.

Who’s in it?

Stephen Wight bears a striking resemblance to the title character while simultaneously capturing his east London accent, pent-up angst and volatile personality in an admirably convincing performance as the tortured fashion star.

Glee’s Dianna Agron brims with attitude as his obsessed intruder, boldly demanding he makes her a dress but ultimately showing her vulnerable side in a scene in which McQueen comes to her rescue.

Alongside a good supporting cast, which also includes an almost unrecognisable Tracy-Ann Oberman as a haughty Blow, there is an ensemble of dancers, whose presence, like contorting mannequins, brings the glamour and quirkiness of his catwalk shows to Caird’s visually striking production.

What should I look out for?

The scene in which Wight’s McQueen describes a woman in the distance at a party, imagining a whole life from just her appearance and giving audiences an even deeper understanding of his incredible outlook on the world.

The fashion designer’s favourite brown belt: the most unsettling and distressing presence in the entire production.

In a nutshell?

Stephen Wight is a killer McQueen in this unique theatrical insight into the creative mind of one of Britain’s greatest fashion design talents.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@carolinemichell She is perfect. Dianna Agron gave an incredible performance for McQueen! @ St James Theatre

@aishacaan The play McQueen @St James’ Theatre is a “must see”. It really captures inside the mind of McQueen.

Will I like it?

Gleeks wanting to see the woman behind Quinn Fabray in her London stage debut, this is for you. Theatre and dance fans interested in seeing the two mediums combined in a visually spectacular and physical production, this is also for you. But anyone intrigued by McQueen, both as an individual and by his work as designer, this is mainly for you. Head to the St James Theatre (via the V&A exhibition) for a startling insight into the world of one of the country’s most ingenious fashion minds.

McQueen is playing at the St James Theatre until 27 June. You can book tickets through the venue’s website.

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