No Man's Land No Man’s Land get up close with two British acting legends
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No Man’s Land: get up close with two British acting legends

They’re two of the UK’s most loved actors who happen to be best friends. Experience the magical pairing of Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart in No Man’s Land.

By Clare Thorp 

When it comes to friendship goals, no one sets the bar higher than actors Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart. 

The award-winning pair became unlikely social media stars as they toured the sights of Manhattan in matching bowler hats during their 2009 Broadway production of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, posting selfies as they went. This summer, the actors were reunited in a stage production of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre – and on 15th December, their performance will be broadcast live to Vue’s screens via NT Live, followed by an encore on 15th January. 

No Man’s Land: get up close with two British acting legends Behind the scenes at the No Man's Land camera rehearsal. Photo by Ludovic des Cognets

McKellen and Stewart play two ageing writers, Hirst and Spooner, one with a decidedly more charmed life than the other, who meet in a North London pub and continue drinking into the night at Hirst’s nearby stately home. This is one of Pinter’s funniest works, with the sharp exchanges perfectly suited to McKellen and Stewart’s playful on and off-screen relationship.

He was a dazzlingly clever intelligent comic and entertaining writer.
The big screen allows a totally unique way to enjoy theatre, with close up shots of McKellen and Stewart letting you observe every twitch of emotion – which is hugely rewarding in such an intimate and precise play. “If there is a pause or a silence indicated by the text, we’re very alert to that,” says McKellen in the above NT Live interview. “It does keep you on your toes, no end. And your reward is the audience’s reaction.”
No Man’s Land: get up close with two British acting legends Behind the scenes at the No Man's Land camera rehearsal. Photo by Ludovic des Cognets
McKellen and Stewart are joined onstage by Damien Molony and Owen Teale, who play Hirst’s two menacing minders. “The relationship the four of us have on stage and off stage is as if we have been together for 50 years,” says Stewart. “Every night there are playful elements that have never been there before.”

We may never be invited to join McKellen and Stewart’s bowler hat club, but watching these two legends on stage together for a couple hours, doing what they do best, is a pretty good alternative.

No Man’s Land will be broadcast live to Vue on 15th December with an encore on 15th January; get times and tickets here.