Monday, May 27, 2024

Damn the Pandemic and Everything Else! Sir Ian McKellen, 81, Playing Hamlet, 30, in “Reimagined age, colour and gender-blind production”


Well, you know, Sir Ian McKellen can do anything. And he is forever young.

So it’s no surprise that he’ll be playing boyish Hamlet, thought to be 30 years old or a little younger, all summer in a UK production.

Sir Ian is a youthful 81. He first played Hamlet on stage when he was 29! Maybe he’ll get it right this time…

The production takes place from mid June through September at Theatre Royal Windsor on the outskirts of London, just across from the walls of Windsor Castle. If Queen Elizabeth is looking for some entertainment and take her mind off of grieving Philip, she can just walk over there!

This “Hamlet” cast includes Francesca Annis, 75, Jenny Seagrove, 63, and Steven Berkoff, 83. It’s described as a “reimagined age, colour and gender-blind production.” It’s directed by the great Sean Mathias, famed theater and film director, Sir Ian’s bestie (and long ago partner). Hamlet’s father will be played by Lionel Barrymore. (Just kidding!) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in wheelchairs! (Joking!)

There will be seats on the stage, and everyone has to wear a mask. There’ some kind of social distancing involved. Most of the tickets are sold out.

Wish I could be there! (Wish I could be anywhere!)

You all know Sir Ian from “Lord of the Rings” and “X Men,” but the first time I saw him on stage was in 1981, on Broadway, starring in his Tony winning performance as Salieri in “Amadeus” and then in 1986 in Chekhov’s “Wild Honey.” He’s worth the trip!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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