Ian McKellen by Joy Leslie Gibson - review by Christine Eccles

Christine Eccles

Rise of the First Weasel

Ian McKellen


Weidenfeld & Nicolson 181pp £10.95 order from our bookshop

At a private dinner party in June, Ian McKellen told Ivan Fallon (deputy editor of the Sunday Times) that, so far, only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ had been revealed at the National Theatre. McKellen then promptly got on the phone to Sir Peter Hall and told him that the Sunday Times was out to get him. Whilst denials, counter-accusations and writs were hurled around, McKellen quietly disappeared on a ‘walking holiday’. You don’t actually have to be present to have stage presence.

McKellen is only 47. He’s played practically all the classic leads that anyone of his age would ever want to have played. Four of these performances place him as the pre-eminent classical actor of his generation: Macbeth, Richard 11, Face in The Alchemist and Platonov in Wild Honey. Any other

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