THEATRE REVIEW: No Man’s Land starring Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: Wyndhams Theatre

WHEN: 21/9, runs to 17/12

Never has there been a play in the history of theatre where we’ve disagreed so intently with our companion for the evening about their interpretation of it.

  • Read on for the identity of the fellow Pinter star in the audience watching this performance

Were Hirst (Sir Patrick Stewart, initially reticent and later dashing in and out of the spotlight with ever more spectacular tales) and Spooner (the showier part of the try-too-hard who eventually irks) God and the Devil jousting at the end of days?

Or was Hirst suffering from Alzheimer’s and imagining Spooner and the sinister Briggs (Game Of Thrones‘ Owen Teale giving us terrifying with the occasional glimpse of sunlight) and Foster (an impish Damien Molony from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Crashing, peppering his performance with utter untrustworthiness)?

Such is the brilliance of Pinter’s 70s absurdist play and the blankness of its canvas that it’s capable of these and many more interpretations. How can watching so little happen over 100 minutes prove to be both so entertaining and occasionally, when the tone switches, so threatening?

Much of the credit must go to the entire cast for realising the work so effectively but also to the central pairing whose combined age is 153 (McKellen a year older, at 77, than Stewart). It does make one wonder at how lucky we are to see them in such work and whether we’ll get the chance again.

We’ve thought long and hard about why we didn’t join the sporadic standing ovation at the show’s close and we think it’s because we were still musing over exactly what we’d just seen.

Full credit then to the stars of such fare as Star Trek and the X-Men series for bringing such work to the eyes of their legion of fans.

Their celebrity admirer? Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp who we last saw in Pinter’s The Homecoming last year at Trafalgar Studios.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Sir Ian McKellen. Tickets.
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