Hollywood star and theatre legend Ian McKellen is looking forward to Wolverhampton return

Hollywood and theatre legend Ian McKellen is returning to Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre where he loves how "the auditorium wraps itself around you".

Ian McKellen will be playing Mother Goose (picture Jack Mcguire)
Ian McKellen will be playing Mother Goose (picture Jack Mcguire)

The actor is performing in West End pantomime Mother Goose at The Grand in February and has spoken of his fondness for the historic theatre.

He said: "I have only played Wolverhampton once so I’m very excited to return to that gorgeous theatre. I played the Grand in 1971 with Hamlet and it was a long tour.

"By that I mean a very long tour and it was such a long time ago much of it now I can’t remember but to this day, the image of the gorgeous auditorium remains in my mind."

He added: "At Wolverhampton Grand the auditorium wraps itself around you when you’re on stage and then there’s those plush red seats it is indeed very Grand.”

The X-Men star claims he is never far away from the Black Country accent thanks to his friend actress Frances Barber, who attended Wolverhampton Grammar School.

He said: "My good friend Frances Barber still speaks with a Wolverhampton accent so I know I’ll feel right at home, she’s a dame of Wolverhampton!”

Wolverhampton is the only Midlands run for Mother Goose and theatre goers will be seeing one of the most anticipated performances on stage this year as Ian gives his own take on a pantomime dame.

John Bishop "loves Wolverhampton"

He said: “There are lots of sorts of dames, there are men in frocks who look nothing like women and that’s very funny, right through to the other end of really convincing women, like RuPaul and Danny La Rue who are hugely entertaining and altogether the most glamorous things you’ve ever seen.

"What am I doing in this panto? I asked Jonathan Harvey who has written this pantomime, who has written so beautifully for Coronation Street to create me a strong woman. He created the part that I played in Coronation Street for ten episodes and I have every faith in him and I know that he has come up with something equally brilliant for my Mother Goose, think Coronation Street housewife, she’s a strong woman but she’s flawed.

"What’s the point of a man playing a pantomime dame? I don’t know but there’s plenty of feminine stuff inside me and that will come to the fore… she can’t wait to meet you all, that’s for sure.”

Co-star John Bishop knows he can expect to get a laugh in Wolverhampton after stopping off countless times during his stand-up career.

He said: "There’s so much laughter and I know Wolverhampton loves a good laugh. I’ve played every room of the Civic Hall from the tiny one upstairs when I was starting out, right through to the big one but now, the Grand Theatre. I love Wolverhampton, I can’t wait to bring this show there."

Tickets for Mother Goose at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre starring Ian McKellen and John Bishop from February 22 - 26 are on sale now at grandtheatre.co.uk.

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