Kevin has designs on role

Kevin Wathen
Kevin Wathen

He first trod the boards here in Alnwick, but now actor Kevin Wathen is turning on the style in London’s West End.

Kevin is now understudying for Stephen Wright for the role of Alexander McQueen in the James Phillips biographical play McQueen.

The 35-year-old is covering for Wright during a run of the show continuing until November at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket.

The former Duchess’s Community High School pupil’s previous credits include playing Tony Elliot in Billy Elliot: The Musical from 2013 until last year. This latest addition to his CV tells the story of the late fashion designer McQueen.

McQueen, previously diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, killed himself at his London home in Feburary 2010 at the age of 40.

Playing him most of the time is award-winning actor Wright, also 35, seen on TV in The Paradise and Bluestone 42, but if he has to have days off, Kevin will take over.

The Northumbrian said: “It’s quite a challenge being an understudy. The guy playing McQueen is my best friend, and we went to drama school together.

“We look very similar, so he helped sort this out for me.

“In a normal rehearsal process, you’re always up there and actively applying what you’re learning, but as an understudy, you can sit and watch them do it, but actually doing it yourself is something completely different.”

Kevin is still waiting for his chance to play McQueen but said: “I’ll get to do it a couple of times, but I don’t want to wish ill on my mate. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but it’s still a great exercise for me.”

Kevin got into acting at high school under the influence of his form teacher, now retired deputy head George Adamson, later taking on roles with Alnwick Stage Musical Society.