The inimitable Ian McKellen will star in one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies... not another stint as King Lear (which he last played in 2018), but a fresh take on Hamlet. The new 'age blind' production gives the Lord of the Rings star to return to a part he last played 50 years ago. At the 81, McKellen will bring the full weight of experience and expertise to portray the 'slings and arrows of outgragous fortune'.
Ian McKellen as Hamlet in 1971
It's a casting decision that goes against the precedent: Shakespeare's text suggests Hamlet is around 30. Previous productions have explored casting Hamlet as different races or genders, but this will be the first time the dithering Danish prince has been played by someone so seasoned.
Sean Mathias, who has worked with McKellen on No Man's Land and Waiting for Godot, will direct the new production of Hamlet. Rehearsals will be configured around social distancing, with temperature screening and increased hygiene measures
'I feel lucky to be working again,' McKellen says, expressing excitement at the opportunity to 're-examine Hamlet, 50 years on from my first go.'
The creative team are unsure when the show will run - timing will depend on how and when restrictions lift - but Hamlet will open at Theatre Royal Windsor. Fingers crossed it comes to London.
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