Sir Ian McKellen’s West End play cancelled until Thursday after fall

Sir Ian McKellen is “recovering well” but his West End show will be cancelled on Wednesday after he fell from the stage earlier this week, the production has said.

The veteran stage and screen actor, 85, was portraying John Falstaff in a production of Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre on Monday when he lost his footing in a fight scene and fell from the stage.

After the accident, he was taken to hospital to receive treatment and the remainder of Monday and Tuesday’s performances were cancelled to allow him to rest.

Sir Ian had been expected to return for Wednesday’s matinee performance, but the show has now been cancelled until Thursday.

In a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter, the show said they “look forward to him returning to the production as soon as he is ready”.

“The performance on Wednesday 19 June will be cancelled following Ian McKellen’s fall during the performance of Player Kings on Monday (17 June)”, the statement said.

“Bookers for the affected performance will be contacted by their point of purchase directly. We look forward to welcoming audiences back to the Noel Coward Theatre on Thursday 20 June.

“We are delighted that Ian is recovering well, and look forward to him returning to the production as soon as he is ready. We will keep audiences updates regarding remaining performances this week.”

A spokesperson for the London theatre said in a statement on Monday night that Sir Ian was in “good spirits” and is expected to “make a speedy and full recovery” after receiving a scan at the hospital.

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 Noel Coward theatre in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

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

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 the PA news agency it was a “shock” to witness the fall.

The Methodist minister from Downham Market, Norfolk recalled how Sir Ian seemed to trip as he moved downstage to take a more active part in the scene before falling off the stage directly in front of the audience.

Player Kings, a production of Henry IV, parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke, is due to end its run at the Noel Coward Theatre on Saturday.

Sir Ian McKellen appearing on the Graham Norton Show
Sir Ian McKellen appearing on the Graham Norton Show (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The play will then move to the Bristol Hippodrome in July before being staged in Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

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

On screen he is best 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.