After a run in New York and a short UK regional tour, Sean Mathias‘ much-anticipated production of Harold Pinter‘s 1975 play No Man’s Land officially opened in the West End last night (20 September 2016).
The production reunites Mathias with his two leading men, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who starred in his award-winning 2009 production of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. (In New York, the team ran the two plays in repertory.) McKellen and Stewart play Spooner and Briggs, two ageing writers who meet in a Hampstead pub and continue their copious drinking in Hirst’s stately home nearby until the arrival of two sinister younger men, Briggs and Foster, played by Owen Teale and Damien Molony.
So what happens when two knights of the realm at the top of their game spark off one another in a modern classic? Critics have unanimously revelled in the match-up, with many parallels drawn with the play’s original stars, Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud. Here’s a round-up of some of the overnight judgements in the national press.