From Gandalf to Mother Goose - Ian McKellen bringing panto to The Lowry
SIR Ian McKellen will be returning to his native North West at Easter when the hit pantomime Mother Goose comes to The Lowry at Salford Quays.
The production in which he co-stars with comedian John Bishop is currently in London’s West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre and will be heading out on a national tour.
One of the country’s most acclaimed actors, Sir Ian has always said that he wanted to play in a pantomime at some point in his career. He plays Mother Goose - a far cry from roles such as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies and work with the Royal Shakespeare Company which have made him a household name.
When it was first announced he would star in panto, Sir Ian said: “It is a serious story told comically. It is about good and bad, and of course good always triumphs in a pantomime.
“It uses every device theatre can offer. There is singing, there is dancing, there is rhyme, there are jokes, there is sentiment, there is audience participation, there is a man dressed as a woman, a woman dressed as a goose.
“Everything has gone haywire, and it is all for the audience to have a good time. That is the only reason you do it.”
The production will also feature West End star Anna Jayne Casey as Cilla the Goose. She was most recently seen as Fraulein Kost in the award-winning production of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. Her many other West End credits include Velma Kelly in Chicago, Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot, Lady of the Lake in Spamalot and Rizzo in Grease.
Like Sir Ian McKellen, she too will be returning to home ground for The Lowry shows having been born in the city and grown up in Rossendale. Sir Ian, a former Bolton School pupils, grew up in Barrow Bridge.
The panto tells the story of Mother Goose and her husband Vic, played by John Bishop, who run an animal sanctuary and live in an abandoned Debenhams department store, until the sudden arrival of a goose causes chaos.
The show has been written by Janathan Harvey, a major writer on Coronation Street and who also wrote Dusty - the Dusty Springfield Musical and directed by award-winning director Cal McCrystal.
The cast also includes Oscar Conlon-Morrey as Jack, Simbi Akande as Jill, Sharon Ballard as Good Fairy Encanta and Karen Mavundukure as Evil Fairy Malignia.
Mother Goose, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Wednesday, April 5 to Sunday, April 9. Details from www.thelowry.com