Ian McKellen said of this show "I'm celebrating my 80th birthday by touring a new solo show to theatres I know well and a few that I don't. The show starts with Gandalf and will probably end with an invitation to act with me on stage. In-between there will be anecdotes and acting." and that pretty well sums it up! Armed with nothing but a trunk of memories (to which he adds a sticker for each venue visited) and a prodigious memory, Sir Ian entertains and enthralls us for over 2 hours (overrunning on this, and probably every other, performance).
Sitting near the front, probably less that 12ft from Sir Ian, this was a truly special experience. In the first half he takes us through his career, from amateur actor, through the regions to major stage roles and on to filmswith one lucky audience member getting to go on stage with him and even handle Gandalf's sword (which he still has - together with the hat!). Aspects of his personal life, including his coming out, are also covered and the whole talk is littered with anecdotes of the people he has known and worked with and the places he has appeared. Apparently he left the National Theatre Company because he thought, with all the excellent actors in the company, he would not ever get a good part!
The second half is dedicated to Shakespeare with Sir Ian reciting from memory parts from many of the 37 plays and tol anecdotes about the ones he didn't know a speech from.
This really, really is a "do not miss" event, I'm so glad I didn't!