Sir Ian McKellen ‘recovering well’ as West End shows are cancelled after fall on stage

Sir Ian McKellen has been forced to cancel two nights of his West End play after suffering a fall during Monday’s performance, but fans have been assured he’s “recovering well”.

The Lord of the Rings actor, 85, is currently starring as John Falstaff in a production of Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre, London.

During Monday night’s show, he suffered a fall and was taken to hospital for medical treatment.

This morning, the theatre announced tonight’s performance of Player Kings would be cancelled “so Ian can rest”.

They initially said the Gandalf star would be back in action for Wednesday’s matinee – but that show has now been cancelled too.

The play will return on Thursday, though a statement posted on X did not specify if Sir Ian or an understudy will be playing Falstaff.

“We look forward to welcoming audiences back to the Noel Coward Theatre on Thursday 20 June,” the theatre company said.

“We are delighted Ian is recovering well, and look forward to him returning to the production as soon as he is ready.

“We will keep audiences updated regarding remaining performances this week.”

Ticketholders affected by the cancellations will be contacted directly, they added.

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A general view of the Noel Coward theatre in London. Sir Ian McKellen fell from the stage during a performance of Player Kings at the theatre on Monday night. Picture date: Tuesday June 18, 2024. Pic: PA
Player Kings will now return on Thursday. Pic: PA

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The Player Kings website lists David Semark, whose credits include EastEnders and Holby City, as the ‘cover’ actor for Sir Ian’s leading role.

The veteran actor cried out in pain when he lost his footing and fell during a fight scene in Monday’s production, a witness told Sky News.

“He still had his microphone on and could be heard shouting for help as some stagehands came out and then started instructing everyone to leave as they brought a stretcher on,” they said.

“We were evacuated to the street and after 10-15 minutes were told that the show could not resume and we would be refunded, and that an ambulance was on the way for Sir Ian.”

The Noel Coward Theatre shared an update on Sir Ian’s condition just before midnight.

They said in a post on X: “Following a scan, the brilliant NHS team have assured us that he will make a speedy and full recovery and Ian is in good spirits.”

Player Kings is a production of William Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke.

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