Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageReview: Ian McKellen & Patrick Stewart‎ give star turns in No Man's Land Special

By Tim Sandle     Sep 25, 2016 in Entertainment
London - No Man's Land featuring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart is currently running on the London stage. The production brings to life one of the most brilliantly entertaining plays by Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter.
Following their hit run on Broadway, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart have taken their hit revival of Harold Pinter's 1970s play to London, with an extended run at Wyndham's Theatre (interestingly the venue where the play first debuted in London in 1975). The theater is a magnificent late Victorian building in the heart of London's West End.
The ornate ceiling at Wyndham s Theatre in London. The theatre was Grade II listed by English Herita...
The ornate ceiling at Wyndham's Theatre in London. The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in September 1960.
The premise of the play is on one summer's evening, two ageing writers, Hirst (played by Sir Patrick Stewart) and Spooner (played by Sir Ian McKellan), meet in a Hampstead pub. The two, at opposite ends of the scale of success (in terms of wealth and prestige) continue their drinking late into the night at Hirst's stately house in North London. The pair become increasingly inebriated, and their stories increasingly unbelievable. The dialogue between the two, a highly entertaining conversation for the audience, develops into a revealing power game. The situation is further complicated by entrance of two sinister younger men.
The play is directed by Sean Mathias and the drama takes place in one room. An effective use of sound and projections of trees, which move in the wind and are reflected by bright or dim light, conveys the drift from night to morning. The stage design powerfully conveys a sense of isolation and containment.
The audience preparing for the start of No Man s Land  at Wyndhams Theatre  in London.
The audience preparing for the start of No Man's Land, at Wyndhams Theatre, in London.
The meaning of the play has confounded critics and theater-goers with each rendition. At times it is hard to work out what is real and what is the imaginative ramblings of two men meandering in "no man's land." Here the phrase, introduced near the beginning of the play and at the end, conveys the place in late life where actions and thoughts can have little meaning unless a clear path is found. Whether, at the end, the two main characters are dragged towards the light of the living or not is uncertain as, like another Pinter play The Caretaker (reviewed by Digital Journal), the drama ends with an impasse. Then again Pinter's plays are as much about mood as anything else.
Important as these themes are, this is not a dry play full of philosophical musings. It is a powerful theatrical experience full of rich comedy and engaging dialogue, in which one speech constantly undercuts another. It is a play designed for experienced, convincing actors and Stewart and McKellen are perfect for the parts.
Both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are superb in the play with their theatrical powers remain seemingly undimmed. The two actors had previously appeared in a highly regarded revival of Waiting for Godot in 2009. Stewart is particularly good at capturing Hirst's melancholic moments, powerfully conveying the message that there is no solutions to ones problems in excessive drinking. Stewart is masterful is conveying genuine haunted pain, and his use of silences before launching into a further set of reminiscences shows how a good actor knows when less is indeed more.
Actor Sir Patrick Stewart meets fans outside the satge door after his performance in No Man s Land.
Actor Sir Patrick Stewart meets fans outside the satge door after his performance in No Man's Land.
McKellan's abilities are a fine actor of physical comedy is revealed; as much is revealed through his mannerisms as anything else. The shabby, shuffling ponytailed figure in an ill-fitting suit is as far from the towering, confident wizard Gandalf as one could get.
Actor Ian McKellen signs autographs after his performance in No Man s Land.
Actor Ian McKellen signs autographs after his performance in No Man's Land.
The play also features Owen Teale, who is cast as a violent thug and Damien Molony, who plays a camp dilettante. Teale is a Welsh actor best known for his role as Ser Alliser Thorne in the HBO fantasy TV series Game of Thrones.
Actor Owen Teale meets fans at the stage door after his performance in No Man s Land.
Actor Owen Teale meets fans at the stage door after his performance in No Man's Land.
Molony has featured in a number of BBC television series, including Being Human and Ripper Street.
Actor Damien Molony meets fans at the stage door after appearing in the play No Man s Land.
Actor Damien Molony meets fans at the stage door after appearing in the play No Man's Land.
No Man's Land runs in London until January 2017. It is a piece of powerful theater and it is highly recommended.
More about No Man's Land, Patrick stewart, Ian mckellen, Harold Pinter, Theater
More news from
Entertainment Video
Latest News
Top News