Ian McKellen to miss final play performances after falling off stage at London theater

The 85-year-old actor is "in good spirits" and expected to make "a speedy and full recovery."

Ian McKellen will sit out the final three performances of Player Kings at the Noël Coward Theatre in London after falling off stage on Monday night.

“David Semark will be playing the role of Sir John Falstaff for the final three scheduled performances of Player Kings at the Noël Coward Theatre in London while Ian McKellen recuperates following his fall on Monday 17 June,” a statement posted on the play’s X (formerly Twitter) account on Thursday read. “We look forward to Ian returning to the production, which begins a national tour in Bristol on Wednesday 3 July, before visiting Birmingham, Norwich, and Newcastle.”

McKellen was taken to the hospital following the incident. However, according to a statement from the theater provided to Entertainment Weekly, the 85-year-old actor is "in good spirits" and expected to make a full recovery.

"Thank you to our audience and the general public for their well wishes following Ian's fall during this evening's performance of Player Kings," the statement said. "Following a scan, the brilliant NHS team have assured us that he will make a speedy and full recovery and Ian is in good spirits."

<p>Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty</p> Ian McKellen at the curtain call during a performance of 'Player Kings'

Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty

Ian McKellen at the curtain call during a performance of 'Player Kings'

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The statement added that Tuesday's performance of Player Kings would be canceled to allow McKellen time to rest. "Those affected will be contacted by their point of purchase as soon as possible tomorrow," the theater said. "Thank you to doctors Rachel and Lee who were on hand in the audience and to all the venue staff for their support."

According to the BBC, the incident occurred when McKellen was performing during a fight scene, lost his footing, and fell from the front of the stage. The show was then canceled and the audience evacuated.

Player Kings started a planned 12-week run in April. In the production, which is a version of Shakespeare's Henry IV (parts 1 and 2) adapted by Robert Icke, McKellen stars as John Falstaff. The show includes a scene in which Falstaff circles a fight between Prince of Wales and Henry Percy, and it was at this point that McKellen is said to have fallen.

Audience members reported on social media that the actor could be heard crying out in pain. Per the BBC, one audience member called the incident "very shocking," and said they "really hope that he is going to be all right," while noting that the actor "was conscious because he was asking for assistance."

McKellen provided an update on his health on June 18. "I want to thank everyone for their kind messages and support," he wrote on X. "Since the accident, during a performance of Player Kings last night, my injuries have been diagnosed and treated by a series of experts, specialists and nurses working for the National Health Service. To them, of course, I am hugely indebted. They have assured me that my recovery will be complete and speedy and I am looking forward to returning to work."

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McKellen is no stranger to Shakespeare, having played the likes of Macbeth, King Lear, Richard II, Coriolanus, Iago, and Richard III on stage. He has received rave reviews so far for his performance in Player Kings, with The Guardian calling his turn a richly complex portrayal."

The venerable actor, who has not been shy about having no desire to retire, recently opened up about his experience playing Falstaff in an interview with The Times of London. "If you want to know that you are mortal you just have to look at your address book," he said. "And so when a script comes through, or the hint of an offer, you think, 'This might be my last job. No. I’m not doing that.' So if Falstaff is my last job, I'd better get it right, hadn't I?"

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.