Happy birthday to Sir Ian McKellen! The theatrical knight turned 70 on Bank Holiday Monday yesterday (25 May 2009) and celebrated on his night off from Waiting for Godot by taking 25 of his friends to the evening performance of La Cage aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre.

McKellen and his guests were sat in the cabaret-style cafe tables in the front of the auditorium. During a scenes when the Cagelles venture out into the “nightclub” crowd, one of the ensemble planted a smacker on McKellen’s forehead. Our spy in the stalls says “he was loving it”, and he was so pleased with the present, he left the bright red lipstick mark prominently on display for the rest of the evening.

After the show, there was cake and more kisses from the cast, currently led by Roger Allam and Philip Quast at a private birthday in the theatre. Amongst the other party guests were Frances Barber, Paul Keating, Malcolm Sinclair and McKellen’s Waiting for Godot director Sean Mathias.

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PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.