Thursday, December 01, 2016

No Man's Land

I watched Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land at Wyndham's Theatre. I normally assign a rating afterwards but I'm not sure about this one.

It is a strange play. I understand the No Man's Land between the living and the dead, where memories exist and disappear at the same time. But the story itself is hard to follow so much so that I'm not surprised if people say there isn't one. Yet it explains the no man's land effectively. It leaves you with this unsettling feeling that life is slipping out ever so slowly and there is little you can do about it. In that sense, it is a well written abstract play, and nothing like those modern abstract plays that try so hard to be cool by being abstract (check out my favourite scapegoat, The Valley of Astonishment).

Having said that, the play is only as good as its actors. And Ian McKellen holds it all together, with little support from Patrick Stewart. The other characters are entirely dispensable. I don't know if that's how it was meant to be. If not for McKellen, there would be no play.

Even at the age of 76-77, performing at length with such brilliance and dedication, I was just glad to be in audience to watch Sir Ian McKellen. And I'm so glad to have been able to see the two actors on stage, and together.

So I suppose, I would like to give it the best rating for the experience. But remove one actor and the play falls away, hence it really deserves a lower rating. So, best to leave it be...