McQueen The Stage Show
What can I say – if you’re an avid admirer of McQueen’s genius creative artistry, fascinated by his idiosyncratic, charismatic manor and intrigued by his one-of-a-kind vision, all amalgamated among a world of fantasy, this stage show adopts a rainbow of emotions that will leave you believing you’ve actually stepped into a single night of McQueen’s real life.
The play transports you on an intimate and provocative journey that explores an insight into Alexander McQueen’s tremendous yet terribly tragic world, that in the end he is unable to control. It introduces you to deeply meaningful places and extraordinary characters who surrounded his life and made him who is was – an iconic, painstakingly passionate human being who was enveloped with demons.
The performance is ultimately inspired by McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2008 collection, The Girl Who Lived in the Tree. The tale begins with Lee (played by Stephen Wight) in his Mayfair house desperately seeking artistic revelation for his next collection, when suddenly, a mysterious girl named Dahlia (portrayed by Dianna Agron) brakes in, who has been living in a tree in his garden for the past eleven nights, and demands the designer to fashion her a dress (as you do). After recovering from the initial shock of her sudden presence, Lee and Dahlia, who in fact is his troubled alter ego, embark on a one-night fairytale journey through London in which they visit a number of people and places along the way.
The duo revisits the cutting room in an Old Burlington Street tailor (where McQueen originally trained) and in the play this was where Lee crafts Dahlia a dress, and meets his original, authoritative tailor, Mr Hitchcock (played by David Shaw-Parker). They also encounter a pretentious reporter, Arabella (played by Laura Rees), and of course, close friend and fashion stylist, Isabella Blow (played by Tracy-Ann Oberman), who displays a luxurious point of visual and verbal indulgence, exceeding as one of the show’s real highlights.
Throughout the stunningly haunting voyage into the visionary and dark fantasy land of McQueen, beautifully theatrical mobile mannequins orbit around Lee, whereby they showcase wonderful artistic transitions in between scenes, in which they superbly capture the pop video aesthetic of the designer’s fashion shows.
We’re also treated and find ourselves immersed into amazing versions of some of McQueen’s most famous and iconic creations, including the golden painted duck feathered coat from his Autumn/Winter 2010/11 Angels & Demons collection, and the red and black ostrich feathers and glass medical slides dress from his Spring/Summer 2001 Voss collection. It is a tremendous sight to behold.
McQueen, Written by James Phillips and Directed by John Caird
St. James Theatre 12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA
Until 27th June 2015
Review by Katie Farley