The lush gilded interior of the Theatre Royal in the Haymarket is a fitting venue for James Phillips’ bold new play McQueen, says Vicky Mayer
Had he lived, I’m sure the celebrated designer would have loved this bittersweet look at his life, which encapsulates everything from his early days on Savile Row to his heady rise to fashion fame thanks partly to stylist extraordinaire Isabella Blow.
McQueen concentrates on one night in the life of this troubled genius. Desperately trying to find an idea by dawn for his new collection, he’s joined by the mysterious Dahlia who breaks into his warehouse on the hunt for a dress she can steal. The pair set off into the night where McQueen introduces his unlikely partner-in-crime to the joys of tailoring and nightclubs. But Dahlia has a death wish and by the time dawn arrives, McQueen and the audience themselves, are starting to wonder if she’s just a figment of his troubled mind.
Stephen Wight as McQueen is outstanding, managing to nail the designer’s distinctive east end accent, ambition and overwhelming insecurity in one fell swoop, while Carly Bawden plays a punchy Dahlia. Slightly disappointing is Tracy-Anne Oberman’s Isabella Blow (too EastEnders and not Tatler enough for my liking) but overall the cast is fantastic and fashion fans will love the brilliant dancers who pirouette from scene to scene in their McQueen-inspired outfits.
McQueen is a fast-paced, honest look at what happens to those caught in the fashion web where one dull collection can kill your career. Alexander McQueen sadly became one of fashion’s victims and this play honours his legacy without glossing over the truth of his death.
McQueen, Theatre Royal Haymarket, on now until November 7. Get discount on tickets at showsinlondon.co.uk