‘X-Men’ Star Ian McKellen Is Set to Play Mother Goose

in Theater

Ian McKellen coming out of an egg

Credit: Variety

Ian McKellen (Gandalf, Magneto) is set to play the title role in the Mother Goose Pantomime at the London Theatre.

Ian McKellen will star in a nationwide touring pantomime of Mother Goose, with a West End season at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Mother Goose is at the Duke of York’s Theatre from December 15th, 2022, to January 29th, 2023.

McKellen is so no stranger to being a Pantomime Dame. This is a traditional role in British pantomime. It is part of the theatrical tradition of the portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag.

Widow Twankey Ian McKellen
Credit: Ian McKellen

One of his most iconic performances is that of Widow Twankey. One critic wrote: “Ian McKellen, is a superb Panto dame, his cheeks covered in rouge, hair in curlers and wearing the most garish outfits imaginable, one quickly realizes from his cheerful demur that this is a role he has been longing for. As cracking as Ian McKellen looks, his Widow Twankey delighted more because of the absurdity of watching one of our great classical actors camp it up in outrageous drag, than because of the usual Panto madness…”

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf
Credit: New Line Cinema

On this side of the pond, here in the states, most people know McKellen best for his roles as the supervillain Magneto in X-Men and as the powerful wizard, Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.

Related: Hugh Jackman Reveals Why He Decided to Return as Wolverine

Not many people completely know about his full theatrical side, how he got his start in theatre, and continues loving it to this day.

Mother Goose had this to say about the show.

Mother Goose Title
Credit: Mother Goose

“Meet Mother Goose (McKellen) and her husband Vic (Bishop). Running an Animal Sanctuary for waifs and strays, they live a wholesome life inside an abandoned Debenhams.”

“But when a magical goose comes a knocking, will fame and fortune get the better of them?!”

“BBC The One Show” got to sit down with Ian McKellen and talk to him about why he loves Pantomime.

“Mother Goose” will be flying into theatres across the land starting in early December.

Would you go watch Sir Ian McKellen as a Pantomime Dame? Let us know in the comments.

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