Dianna Agron—former Glee star; current Pinterest board; enduringly beautiful woman—starred in the world premiere of McQUEEN at the St. James Theatre in London last night. The play was inspired by the “visionary imagination” of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, and Agron’s performance was inspired by a wet piece of notebook paper that suuuuckssss, according to critics.
Written by James Phillips, McQUEEN follows Dahlia (Agron) as she breaks into Alexander McQueen’s house to steal a dress. After McQueen (Stephen Wight) catches her, the two “embark together on a journey through London and into his heart.”
Broadway World rounded up top critics’ assessments of the show, which are unkind to the production in general and really fucking devastating to Agron specifically. Here are the highlights, emphasis added.
Michael Billington, The Guardian: However you choose to define it, the show certainly doesn’t offer much in the way of drama... Stephen Wight is also excellent as Lee: outwardly tough and self-assured, inwardly shy and vulnerable. Dianna Agron falls into monotonous vocal rhythms as Dahlia...
Monotonous vocal rhythms could be soothing, I guess?
Ben Lawrence, The Telegraph: Unfortunately this pretentious, unshapely piece feels like something of a fashion faux pas...Another issue is Agron...who never manages to elevate her character beyond a clothes-horse spouting psychobabble. She speaks in a strange, sing-song voice throughout, reciting rather than metabolising her lines...There’s good work, too, from...Wight in the lead role who gives a dignity to the man that the text really doesn’t deserve.
I’m getting the sense that Agron’s co-star is good, and Agron is not.
Holly Williams, The Independent: In writing a play about fashion designer Alexander McQueen, James Phillips has sensibly eschewed a straight bio-drama in favour of a one-night fairytale...Stephen Wight plays McQueen. No complaints there—it’s brilliant casting, not only because he looks uncannily like the designer, but also because he really digs deep into the role...But Glee star Dianna Agron is not good, I’m afraid. Her delivery is glib yet slow—I never believe the quick-fire rapport with McQueen, and when they get onto more profound or personal matters, her probing feels painfully crass rather than deep-and-meaningful.
Not good at all, I’m afraid.
Matt Trueman, Variety: This is theater for oligarchs’ wives. It looks impressive, but it’s insubstantial; all brand, no craft. That actor Stephen Wight should wring a tender portrait of a troubled man out of such crass writing, surrounded by tech and opposite the expressionless void of co-star Dianna Agron (“Glee”), is nothing short of a marvel...It’s not helped by Caird’s direction, which appears more intent on dazzling with design than taking care of its subject matter...Agron, however, is little more than a clothes horse. She plays up Dahlia’s numbness and ends up vocally monotone, facially inert and deeply unwatchable.
Aah! How many ways can you say you wish Dianna Agron were dead? Goddamn, even putting Glee in quotes reads like shade. “Glee.”
McQUEEN is scheduled to run (into the ground) at the St. James through June 27th.