In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge is taken on a journey through the night by ghosts to help him to see the good in the world. McQueen, which opened its West End transfer last night, reminds me of that story.
Alexander McQueen is alone in his home, drunk and high on drugs and only hours before he has to present the concept for his new show to people. His concept so far, is nothing and suicide is potentially his best option. Dahlia, one of his shop assistants breaks in to his house (or his imagination) and together they embark on a journey through the night, visiting McQueens favourite places, old work houses and friends who have died. But can McQueen save himself from his tortured soul and find inspiration for a new collection or will he end it all to get out of the misery that being a genius can create?
Visually, McQueen is stunning. Dancers dressed as mannequins parade around to classical rock music, getting in to his psyche and creating scenes of nightmare. Costumes are kept to a minimum but where they are used they are sublime. This show isn’t an exhibition of his work, it is an exhibition of his mind.
Stephen Wight is the spitting image of Alexander McQueen and quite dishy with it. From the moment the audience enters the auditorium, he is pacing around the stage and barely leaves it for the two hour show, keeping the audiences attention at all times. Carly Bawden approaches the role of Dahlia in a different way to Dianna Agron originally did in the St James Theatre production earlier this year. Carly plays the role more as an excited groupie whereas Dianna gave a more psychopathic feel to the role. Both interpretations work well although Carly is the most relatable for an audience. Tracy-Ann Oberman brings humour to the role of McQueens deceased friend Isabella Blow and their confrontational scenes together are the strongest moments of the show.
It is shows like McQueen that make me eternally grateful for the job I have. You have to see a lot of shows to find one as exquisite as this but kissing a few frogs is certainly worth it when you find your prince. A sublime masterpiece!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
McQueen is playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 7 November 2015. Click here to book tickets and save up to 44%!
Read my recent interview with Carly Bawden who plays Dahlia here