Ian McKellen to ‘make a speedy and full recovery’ after London theatre stage fall

Lord of the Rings star lost footing and fell off stage during performance at Noel Coward Theatre

Ian McKellen fell off the stage in a production of Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre in London. Photograph: Matt Crossick/PA

Ian McKellen is in “good spirits” and is expected to “make a speedy and full recovery” after he fell from the stage during a West End performance, a theatre representative has confirmed.

The Lord Of The Rings actor (85) who is playing John Falstaff in a production of Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre, was in a fight scene when he lost his footing and fell from the stage during Monday evening’s performance.

“Thank you to our audience and the general public for their well wishes following Ian’s fall during this evening’s performance of Player Kings,” an official for the London theatre said in a statement to the PA news agency.

“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.

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“The production has made the decision to cancel the performance on Tuesday June 18th so Ian can rest. Those affected will be contacted by their point of purchase as soon as possible tomorrow.”

A sign for Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre in London staring Sir Ian McKellen Photograph: Jacob Freedland/PA Wire

The statement also thanked doctors Rachel and Lee who were “on hand in the audience” and to the venue staff “for their support”.

McKellen is expected to next appear in Wednesday’s matinee performance of the production.

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After the accident, audience members were informed that the remainder of the evening performance had been cancelled and they were evacuated from the premises.

A BBC journalist, who saw the play, said the veteran stage and screen actor was in a scene involving the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy when he fell off the front of the stage.

The actor was heard to cry out in pain as staff rushed to help.

Audience member Paul Critchley told PA it was a “shock” to witness the fall.

Mr Critchley, a Methodist minister from Downham Market, Norfolk, said: “Ian seemed to trip as he moved downstage to take a more active part in the scene.

“He picked up momentum as he moved downstage which resulted in him falling off the stage directly in front of the audience.

“The house lights came up very quickly as the stage management and front-of-house team dealt with the incident. We were evacuated immediately so that Ian could be treated in privacy.

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings

“An announcement was made by theatre management that the show had been cancelled, that Sir Ian was receiving treatment and an ambulance had been called.

“It was a shock to witness his fall and I wish him a speedy recovery. My thoughts are also with his fellow cast members, stage crew and front-of-house team at the Noel Coward Theatre.”

London Ambulance Service has declined to comment.

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Player Kings, a production of Henry IV, parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke, is due to move to the Bristol Hippodrome in July and will also be staged in Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

McKellen’s career has spanned more than six decades and seen the actor perform at theatres around the country.

On screen he is most known for playing Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s fantasy trilogy, based on the books from JRR Tolkien.

On the stage he has played a number of Shakespearean characters including Richard II, Macbeth, Coriolanus, and King Lear.

His many acting credits have led to a number of accolades over the years including several Olivier Awards. – PA Wire