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What the critics say about McKellen's latest performance

Sir Ian returns to the West End stage with his old friend Sir Patrick Stewart in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land

From left, Owen Teale, Patrick Stewart, director Sean Mathias, Damien Moloney and Ian McKellen attend the press night after party

Limehouse actor and doyen of the British stage Sir Ian McKellen has another five-star hit on his hands.

Reviews for his latest West End play – Harold Pinter’s absurdist work No Man’s Land – have mostly given the actor a standing ovation.

Sir Ian, owner of The Grapes in Limehouse, reunites with his old sparring partner Sir Patrick Stewart. They created the definitive versions of another absurdist work, Waiting For Godot, in 2009.

Now, along with Owen Teal and Damien Moloney they present a multi-layered work at Wyndam’s Theatre.

Owen Teale, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Damien Moloney bow at the curtain call during the press night performance of No Man's Land at Wyndham's Theatre

What the critics say

Giving the performance, five stars, City AM says : “Once every few years a production comes together that just feels right – the actors perfectly suited, the timing impeccable. No Man’s Land, starring Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, is one of those plays.”

Another five stars comes from the Evening Standard , which says that the two knights bear comparison with Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, who took the roles in the original in 1975.

The Daily Telegraph (five stars) says : “These knights have a combined age of 153. Their powers remain seemingly undimmed. Yet what we’re treated to here is, very possibly, that final beautiful gleam of light as the sun dips behind the brow of the hill. One hopes there will be plenty more from both of them.”

Four stars from The Guardian , which declares: “What is unassailable is that four excellent actors, under Mathias’s direction, exquisitely capture the fluctuations of mood of this remarkable play. Pinter’s No Man’s Land is both desolate and funny and conveys, without peddling any message, the never-ending contrast between the exuberance of memory and the imminence of extinction.

The Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts , although giving the play three stars, says: “Sir Ian McKellen is the main reason to see this West End revival.”

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Journalists

Giles Broadbent
Editor
Jon Massey
Deputy Editor
Alex McIntyre
Senior Reporter
Laura Enfield
Senior Reporter