Sir Ian McKellen in Good Spirits After Stage Fall at Noël Coward Theatre

London, UK — Sir Ian McKellen, 85, was hospitalised following a fall during a performance of ‘Player Kings’ at the Noël Coward Theatre in London’s West End. The incident occurred during a fight scene on Monday evening.

McKellen, renowned for his role as Gandalf in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films, lost his footing while portraying Sir John Falstaff in a battle scene involving the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy. As the house lights came up, McKellen cried out in pain, prompting staff to rush to his aid. The audience was evacuated, and the show was subsequently canceled, according to the BBC.

Witnesses described the fall as ‘bone-chilling.’ Audience members reported hearing McKellen scream for help. London ambulances were seen outside the theatre, though there was no immediate update on McKellen’s condition. In the early hours of Tuesday, a spokesman for the theatre confirmed that McKellen was ‘in good spirits’ and expected to make ‘a speedy and full recovery.’

One audience member, Sandro Trapani, told the BBC, ‘I really hope that he is going to be all right. As far as I saw, he was conscious because he was asking for assistance.’ Others took to social media to express their shock and concern. One individual wrote, ‘Just witnessed an awful accident with Sir Ian McKellen tripping off the stage in London. He seems badly hurt. We are all in shock and tears.’ Another added, ‘Shocking to watch, it was a terrible fall. Hoping he is not badly injured, he seemed to be in great pain.’

‘Player Kings,’ an adaptation of ‘Henry IV, Part One and Part Two,’ directed by Robert Icke, began a 12-week run in April. The production is scheduled to move to the Bristol Hippodrome in July, with additional performances in Birmingham, Norwich, and Newcastle.

In a recent interview, McKellen shared his thoughts on his role as Falstaff: ‘I never got Falstaff. I never thought he was particularly funny. But Rob [Icke] has a honey tongue. He pointed out that Falstaff is a thoroughly objectionable person: he’s a liar and a hypocrite, a glutton, a drunk, careless with his relationships. He must have some sort of charm, though. He can make people laugh. But he’s a very disappointed man. Several times he calls himself old, so there are all these negatives which you are putting against the standard, laughing fat-man Toby-jug idea of Falstaff.’

McKellen, a veteran of Shakespearean roles, has portrayed characters such as Richard II, Coriolanus, Iago, Richard III, King Lear, and Macbeth. He is set to star as Hamlet in a new film adaptation directed by Sean Mathias.

Five years ago, McKellen had to cancel a performance of ‘King Lear’ after sustaining a leg injury while running to catch a train.

McKellen’s representatives and the London Ambulance Service were approached for comment. The London Ambulance Service stated, ‘We will not be issuing a statement on this incident.’

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com

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