Sir Ian McKellen won’t return for Player Kings tour after injury

Sir Ian McKellen will not appear on the UK tour of his latest theatre production, after he was injured while performing in London.

The veteran actor fell off stage last month during a performance of Player Kings at the Noël Coward theatre in London.

In a statement, Sir Ian said he had accepted “with the greatest reluctance” not to take part in the UK tour on medical advice.

The actor’s understudy David Semark will take his place as Sir John Flastaff on the national tour, which runs from 3-27 July.

“Two weeks after my accident on stage, my injuries improve day by day,” Sir Ian said in a statement shared on social media.

“It’s with the greatest reluctance that I have accepted the medical advice to protect my full recovery by not working in the meantime.”

He continued: “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.”

The production company said not taking part in the tour would allow Sir Ian to “fully recover”.

“Ian continues to recuperate very well, but he needs the time to rest and ensure a complete recovery,” the statement said. “We continue to send him our best wishes.”

Player Kings is a production which merges and condenses Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts one and two.

At a performance on 17 June, Sir Ian appeared to lose his footing after performing a fight scene. He was taken to hospital and the play was cancelled that night, with Semark taking over the role at the subsequent London shows.

A theatre spokesperson later said Sir Ian had undergone a scan and medics said he would “make a speedy and full recovery”, adding that he was in “good spirits”.

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