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“With the greatest reluctance,” Ian McKellen backs out of Player Kings national tour following stage fall


ABC Audio has confirmed that legendary stage and screen actor Ian McKellen will not be able to take part in the national tour of the production Player Kings as previously thought, following a fall from the stage during a West End run of the play in June.

“Two weeks after my accident onstage, my injuries improve day by day,” McKellen said in a statement. “It’s with the greatest reluctance that I have accepted the medical advice to protect my full recovery by not working in the meantime.”

A rep for the production confirmed McKellen will not return to play Sir John Falstaff in the tour, which runs from July 3 to July 27 in the U.K. “Ian continues to recuperate very well, but he needs the time to rest and ensure a complete recovery. We continue to send him our best wishes,” the statement reads.

“As it was for the final West End performances, the role of Falstaff will now be performed by David Semark, Ian’s brilliant understudy, for all tour dates of Player Kings,” the statement concluded.

McKellen added, “I had been so looking forward to bringing Player Kings to theatre-goers in Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle. But I can assure them that, with David Semark now playing Falstaff, Robert Icke‘s production and his acting company remain as dazzling as ever. Go see for yourself!”

The 85-year-old revealed he spent three nights in the hospital following the mishap at London’s Noël Coward Theatre. He is expected to make a full recovery.

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