Star of stage and screen Sir Ian McKellen entertained an audience in Norwich – with homeless people and those who support them amongst the invited guests. Some of the people we support went along and were treated to a spellbinding afternoon.
Review written by Tim
Hmmmm. The talk looked bland but – Sir Ian. I had no doubt there would be lots of tales, stories and adventures to hear about from the actor reaching his 80th birthday this year.
We arrived at the theatre – five of us and our chaperone – took our seats and patiently waited for the man himself.
He took to the stage like a whirlwind, lots of energy for a man of his age I thought. He had a box of tricks and some bags beside him, then he began.
A roaring from his throat of Tolkien. Phrases, names and well known pieces from Lord of The Rings – probably his most famous role to date and he will always be known as Gandalf the Grey. Bellowing his words across the Playhouse so all could hear.
About 20 minutes in Sir Ian pulled Gandalfs hat and sword (Glamdring) from his box and asked for a youngster to help him on stage. Suddenly, Joe, one of our group, was up there standing beside Sir Ian – he was faster than a greyhound out of a trap! Joe was handed the sword and proceeded to have a swordfight with Sir Ian. He then had a selfie taken on an old ‘80s polaroid with Sir Ian. Joe strutted around with the sword whilst Sir Ian autographed a tour programme for Joe to keep.
We learnt how Sir Ian got into acting, met famous directors and were told stories of how he had grown up doing theatre meeting the likes of Peter Jackson and spending years in New Zealand filming the Tolkien trilogy. After this he landed and played Magneto in the series of Xmen films.
He told us tales of how often he is mixed up with other actors (Michael Gambon for example who plays Dumbledore) and they all pretend to be each other!
I think, for me, hearing how he has acted roles from Xmen, to Tolkien to a conman in Coronation Street shows just how versatile this great British institution of an actor is.
The show started again after a brief interval and Sir Ian aimed this half mainly at his theatre audience and perhaps the older audience members – there were 80 audience members who are also celebrating their 80th birthdays this year!
He talked more about his theatre work and his roles in Shakespeare plays. He ran through nearly all of Shakespeares works telling his own quirky tales of each one.
I admit I’ve not read Shakespeare (not my scene!) but after Sir Ian bowed out and then left the stage to two standing ovations, everyone who attended had clearly enjoyed the show and there was something for everyone.
Sadly he was then gone and it was time to leave.