Harold Pinter Theatre

Ian mckellen on stage

Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others and YOU!

by Aniela Rybak

17th November 2019

After queuing for an hour on a cold morning with other theatre enthusiasts, my sister and I managed to get two seats (for as little as 10 pounds) for Ian McKellen’s one-man show at  Harold Pinter Theatre. The performance is a continuation of the UK tour celebrating his 80th birthday. The show will run until February 2020 in London, visiting eighty venues around the country. All the profits go to charities dedicated to theatre. 

Gandalf, King Lear, and Richard III are only a few of the many personalities Ian McKellen has adapted throughout the many years of his acting career. However, during the two and a half hours, we can mostly encounter the actor himself: talking about his first experience with  theatre,  telling  what 

Poster for Ian McKellen On Stage (Courtesy of Harold Pinter Theatre)

happened behind the scenes of The Lord of the Rings, how he met the Queen or what plays he did at university. 

The best part of the night is probably how it makes you feel as if you are watching someone that you have known for a really long time, but somehow, it is actually the first time you are encountering them in person. McKellen interacts with the audience as much as possible, perhaps by inviting one girl up on stage or asking everyone to list all of  Shakespeare’s plays. The performance is a conversation alternating between poems and extracts from plays, which makes it a perfect balance between theatre and stand-up comedy. 


By the end of the evening, I left feeling entertained and extremely positive. It was an absolutely unique experience to see such an iconic figure on stage in a relaxed performance. If you consider yourself a hardcore fan of The Lord of the Rings or a theatre lover, this is a show that cannot be missed!

aniela rybak

Staff Writer

Aniela is a second year BA student and is one of the staff writers on the Courtauldian. She will be writing about anything connected to her interests, which apart from art are books and films. One day she hopes to be a curator, so you can expect reviews of exhibitions, which focus on how the art has been presented and how it influences the way we, the viewers look at it. Coming from Warsaw to London has made her think about a lot of things in a fresh light, from everyday matters such as deciding when is the right time to turn the heating on in your house to more significant ones including being a foreigner in a new community.

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