Last November, Sir Ian McKellen expressed his interest in returning to the London stage "if the material is right". Now it looks like that right material might come along quite soon indeed in the form of August Strindberg's Dance of Death, which McKellen performed this past autumn on Broadway. The production, directed by Brit Sean Mathias, looks set for a West End transfer by the end of 2002. It's uncertain whether McKellen's New York co-star, Helen Mirren, will accompany it, but the actor himself seems likely to do so. The 1901 play concerns a husband and wife approaching their silver anniversary. Mathias' revival started previews at New York's Broadhurst Theater the week after 11 September, when the title seemed less than appropriate. Despite that, the production received good reviews and did well in its limited run to January.
McKellen's last London stage productions were in 1997 when he starred in Enemy of the People and Peter Pan at the National. This past week he made a special appearance in The Play What I Wrote to present The Right Size and Eddie Braben with the 2002 Olivier award for Best New Comedy.