Ian McKellen Injures Wrist, Neck in Stage Fall: Vows to Persevere

McKellen's fall leads to understudy stepping into spotlight

by Zain ul Abedin
Ian McKellen Injures Wrist, Neck in Stage Fall: Vows to Persevere
© Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Ian McKellen is recovering from a recent theatre mishap that saw him suffer a wrist and neck injuries. The well-respected 85-year-old actor slipped during a performance at Noël Coward Theater in London on June 17. This misfortune happened while he was performing the character of Sir John Falstaff in the play entitled "Player Kings." Within only two weeks after the incidence, McKellen used X, previously referred to as Twitter, to inform his fans about his status.

On July 2, he posted a message, saying: "Just two weeks after my accident onstage I want to assure my many well-wishers that the injuries (to wrist and neck) are on the mend. My doctors promise a complete recovery - but only if I avoid work over the next few weeks." Because of this he had to rest and thus take a bow and has been replaced by his first call, David Semark.

Semark, who did a commendable job taking over for the last shows at the Noël Coward Theatre, will play Falstaff as the show moves into a four-week tour through Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle. "Meanwhile the show goes on and the Player Kings company start their four weeks’ tour without me.

My understudy David Semark, who with panache took over for the final performances at the Noël Coward Theatre in the West End of London, will play Falstaff again in Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle," the veteran actor expounded.

McKellen Urges Audience Support

However, even if McKellen is absent, he calls on his audience to support the play. "Any actor will say that missing a performance feels somewhat shameful, even when he is not to blame." he noted.

But, he insisted, "But Robert Icke’s masterful production remains intact. His mis en scene is compelling throughout and his actors, led by Toheeb Jimho and Richard Coyle as Prince Hal and his father, remain on top form.

Go see for yourself!"

After the injury, Player Kings stated that McKellen would remain out of the stage as he further underwent his recovery process.

The theater production’s account on X explained that after suffering from the accident in the West End run of Player Kings, Ian McKellen was advised by his doctors to be away from work and fully recuperate. As McKellen continues to take time off to recuperate, the statement highlighted the progress he is making towards getting well.

"He continues to recuperate very well," continued the statement ending with: "He needs the time to rest and ensure a complete recovery. We continue to send him our best wishes."