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Injury forces Ian McKellen to skip Lear and give audiences an impromptu Q&A instead

Lloyd Hutchinson and Ian McKellen in King Lear at the Duke of York's Theatre, London. Photo: Johan Persson Lloyd Hutchinson and Ian McKellen in King Lear at the Duke of York's Theatre, London. Photo: Johan Persson
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Ian McKellen gave an impromptu ‘Audience with…’ event at the weekend, after an injury forced him to pull out of performing the title role in King Lear.

McKellen was on his way to the Duke of York’s in London on August 4 when he strained a calf muscle as he boarded a train to the venue.

Because of the injury, McKellen was unable to perform in Lear, but instead he “chatted on stage to the audience” while they waited for refunds.

“I tried out a few new routines and some old ones – a bit of Gandalf and a couple of Shakespeare speeches,” he said on Twitter.

He added: “Sitting down was fine but I just couldn’t have managed kneeling in the rain storm nor risked carrying Cordelia’s corpse on my back,” he added,

With a walking stick, he said he managed the evening’s performance and he reassured his Twitter followers that the next performance of King Lear, on August 7, would go ahead with “muscle restored and spirits high”.

He added: “Repeated apologies to Saturday’s audience who missed Lear and got just me instead.”

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