Capturing one fictionalised night in McQueen’s life the play, written by James Phillips is a fairy-tale about a mysterious girl, Dahlia (Dianna Agron). Dahlia has been hiding in a tree in McQueen’s (Stephen Wight) garden but tonight she climbs down and entering his house intends to steal a dress, in the hope of becoming someone special.
Not being a massive theatre fan the first couple of minutes had me nervous. The possible ‘kiss-arsing’ of the subject matter meant there was huge potential for it to be... well a bit wanky. Thankfully that was sidestepped with relative ease. Talent flooded through each dancer as they positioned themselves around the stage portraying mannequins and models. Doubling as artistically skilled stage hands, they moved effortlessly showing off clothes that, whether by the designer himself or inspired copies, were enchanting.
This is my first play about a real person that I admired and occasionally I failed to think of it as just that due to Wight’s performance. Several times throughout the 1 hr and 35 minutes I experienced mini heart breaks as I remembered this wasn’t really Lee McQueen in front of me. His screams at a vision of Isabella Blow (Tracey-Ann Oberman,) the woman who made him famous and then committed suicide in 2007, were heart-breaking. Here we saw both the pain he may have been going through and caught a glimpse of what he in turn, must have inflicted on others when he took his own life.
In one scene, after we have discovered Agron’s character has more than a few issues of her own they are on a roof top. Talk turns to jumping but a peregrine falcon flies in and lands at their feet. It was wild and free, a killer with a calming influence giving both McQueen and Dahlia something to think about other than their own inner turmoil. It got them through the night, if only this had been a real event. This scene makes me think that Phillips at least knows these genuine moments, in whatever form they take, are part of what makes life worth living.
I was late to the party when it comes to fashion, having neither the cash nor interest until several years ago. When I arrived it was McQueen that I gravitated towards. Saturday afternoon got me closer to the man then I ever imagined I would be and the more I think about it, the more grateful I am for having had the opportunity.
Did you see the play?