Wednesday , May 22 2024

Sir Ian McKellen, 84, sports a jazzy Casablanca green coat and long beard as he celebrates West End show Player Kings’ rave reviews at after party

Sir Ian McKellen showed off his sense of style at the Player Kings after party at St Martin’s Lane in London on Thursday, after treading the boards in the new West End play. 

The actor, 84, took to the stage at the Noel Coward theatre earlier in the evening as John Falstaff in the production, directed by Robert Icke – and received rave four star reviews from critics for his ‘boundless energy’ and ‘showmanship’. 

Sir Ian changed out of his stage costume and into a Casablanca green patterned coat from their 2022 collection. 

He added a pop of colour with aquamarine coloured jeans and a white shirt and sported a bushy beard, after growing his facial hair for the role. 

The legendary actor will star in a 12-week run in the West End in the play that is a new version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, adapted by the award-winning writer and director Robert. 

Sir Ian McKellen showed off his sense of style at the Player Kings after party at St Martin's Lane in London on Thursday, after treading the boards in the new West End play

Sir Ian McKellen showed off his sense of style at the Player Kings after party at St Martin’s Lane in London on Thursday, after treading the boards in the new West End play

Sir Ian has grown a beard for the role

The actor pictured right last year with his clean shaven look

Sir Ian has grown a beard for the role (pictured right last year with his clean shaven look) 

It brings together Shakespeare’s two history plays (Henry IV, parts 1 and 2) with the cast including Toheen Jimoh as Hal and Richard Coyle as King Henry IV. 

Of why he took on the role, Sir Ian said when he became a professional actor at Cambridge in 1959, he was in John Barton’s undergraduate production of Henry IV. 

He said: ‘Derek Jacobi played Prince Hal and I was the ancient Justice Shallow. Ever since, the plays have been among my favourite Shakespeares, although through the years I’ve resisted offers to play John Falstaff. Robert Icke’s ingenious adaptation was irresistible.’ 

Robert said: ‘It’s a genuine honour to work with one of our greatest Shakespearean actors, Ian McKellen, especially as he tackles one of the most iconic Shakespearean roles–and one he’s previously never turned his hand to. 

‘It’s an exciting challenge to bring together two of Shakespeare’s plays into one production, and I’m so excited to share with audiences in the West End and across the country.’

After its London run Sir Ian, whose film credits include the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, will take The Player Kings to Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle 

Earlier this week, Ian had to take drastic, and speedy, measures to ensure he made it across London in time for his daily performance on stage – riding on the back of a motorbike.

The legendary actor will star in a 12-week run in the West End in the play that is a new version of Shakespeare¿s Henry IV, adapted by the award-winning writer and director Robert

The legendary actor will star in a 12-week run in the West End in the play that is a new version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, adapted by the award-winning writer and director Robert

He added a pop of colour with aquamarine coloured jeans and a white shirt and sported a bushy beard, after growing his facial hair for the role

He added a pop of colour with aquamarine coloured jeans and a white shirt and sported a bushy beard, after growing his facial hair for the role

Player Kings – what do the critics say? 

The Telegraph

Rating:

After his tour de force 80th-birthday show, his ‘age-blind’ Hamlet and his Mother Goose, I hesitate to say “This is it – Ian McKellen’s swansong!”. 

At 84, there’s clearly life in the acting titan yet (and long may it be). Even so, an unmistakable aura of elegy and mortality hangs over his largely delightful and affecting turn as old Jack Falstaff, who, with his shaggy beard and wispy white hair, inevitably recalls Gandalf but has a gargantuan belly and little of the wizard’s wisdom. 

Time Out 

Rating:

Ian McKellen and Toheeb Jimoh are phenomenal as a deluded Falstaff and dangerous Hal in Robert Icke’s elegant take on ‘Henry IV’

Yes, the presence of soon-to-turn-85 stage and screen legend Ian McKellen tackling Shakespeare’s great character Sir John Falstaff is the big draw in ‘Player Kings’.

But Robert Icke’s three hour-40-minute modern-dress take on the two ‘Henry IV’ plays does not pander to its star, and is unwavering in its view that this is the story of two deeply damaged men, linked grimly together.

The Guardian

Rating:

At just over three and a half hours, it is far shorter than the RSC’s 2014 twin productions starring Antony Sher as Falstaff (irrepressibly, magnificently jovial), which were almost three hours apiece. The necessary truncations here mean that its pace is faster but there is less development of its themes.

Certainly, McKellen is well worth seeing for his showmanship (when is he ever not?) and if this is part of a growing wave of “commercial Shakespeare” shows, led by big name stars in the West End, it is an attractive addition.

See also  Courteney Cox, 59, wishes she'd been a 'firmer parent' with daughter Coco Arquette, 19, and 'stepped in' when the teen was rebelling

Evening Standard

Rating:

This is a four-star, almost four-hour Falstaff – a condensed version of Henry IV parts I and II that’s a luxurious feast for Ian McKellen and for audiences. 

Our greatest living classical actor attacks the part of the gluttonous, cowardly knight – one of the few male Shakespearean biggies he’s not previously ticked off – with relish and superb comic timing.

iNews  

Rating:

With a running time of three and three-quarter hours – Icke’s slick modern-dress adaptation streamlines the two plays into one – Player Kings tests the stamina of audience and actors alike and while we lesser mortals might flag, McKellen’s boundless energy – not to mention line-learning capacity – is continually astounding. 

After its London run Sir Ian, whose film credits include the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, will take The Player Kings to Bristol, Birmingham , Norwich and Newcastle

After its London run Sir Ian, whose film credits include the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, will take The Player Kings to Bristol, Birmingham , Norwich and Newcastle 

Of why he took on the role, Sir Ian said when he became a professional actor at Cambridge in 1959, he was in John Barton's undergraduate production of Henry IV

Of why he took on the role, Sir Ian said when he became a professional actor at Cambridge in 1959, he was in John Barton’s undergraduate production of Henry IV

It brings together Shakespeare¿s two history plays (Henry IV, parts 1 and 2) with the cast including Toheen Jimoh as Hal and Richard Coyle as King Henry IV

It brings together Shakespeare’s two history plays (Henry IV, parts 1 and 2) with the cast including Toheen Jimoh as Hal and Richard Coyle as King Henry IV

One source said: ‘Sir Ian tried getting picked up by a car provided by theatre bosses but it took so long to get across town it was pointless.

‘One night it took him 90 minutes to get from his home. After that, it was decided a motorbike was the only option.’

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