Review Roundup: Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in FRANK AND PERCY

Frank and Percy will run through 17 December.

By: Sep. 27, 2023
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Review Roundup: Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in FRANK AND PERCY

Ben Weatherill’s new comedy, Frank and Percy,  just opened at The Other Palace in London.  The production, starring Ian McKellen (Percy) and Roger Allam (Frank) and directed by Sean Mathias, will now run until Sunday 17 December.  

Frank and Percy is a poignant and witty take on the unexpected relationship that blossoms between two men. Devoted to their canine companions, they believe that human connection is far more temperamental, but, as their dogs play in the park, can Frank, a widowed schoolteacher, and Percy, a somewhat radical elder statesman, find the time for new love, or should they just let sleeping dogs lie?

Review Roundup: Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in FRANK AND PERCY Alice Saville, The Independent: With a glut of roles from Hamlet to Gandalf behind him, 84-year-old Ian McKellen has absolutely nothing left to prove. He’s clearly on stage for the pure joy of it, and that sense of delight shines through in mischievous gay romcom Frank and Percy, where he and Roger Allam have a ball, playing friends-turned-lovers. McKellen pulls on a tiny rainbow-coloured tutu, strikes mock-alluring poses to disco anthems, and has the audience in fits with knowing comments about a “dextrous tongue” that’s schooled in saucier purposes than Shakespearean couplets. Writer Ben Weatherill’s wry comedy is a precision-tooled vehicle for McKellen and Allam’s talents, one that’s motoring into London after a hit premiere at Theatre Royal Windsor in June.

Review Roundup: Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in FRANK AND PERCY Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut: I know it’s rude to draw attention to a person’s age, but the fact Ian McKellen has racked up five major stage performances in the four years since he turned 80 – ‘Hamlet’, ‘The Cherry Orchard’, ‘Hamlet’ (again), ‘Mother Goose’ and now ‘Frank and Percy’ – is nothing short of astonishing. The erstwhile Gandalf is the David Attenborough of the theatre world, seemingly exempt from the usual rules of ageing. And despite the fact that he seems most comfortable working with his regular director Sean Mathias, there’s something mightily impressive about his willingness to put his vast cultural capital to use in a new play.

Review Roundup: Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in FRANK AND PERCY Demetrios Matheou, The Arts Desk: I wanted to like Frank and Percy more. It stars two of our most accomplished and personable actors; it’s quite amusing; and it carries sweet messages about friendship, love and the ability to surprise oneself later in life. And yet, dramatically, writer Ben Wetherill and director Sean Mathias offer little more than a soft-centred character study that doesn’t break free of its limitations.

Review Roundup: Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in FRANK AND PERCY Andrew Hebden, Queer Guru: The humor is the most consistent element of this tale. There is a bucket full of one-liners nicely delivered and well received by the audience, The story itself rambles, but like a wander through the Yorkshire Dales, it has delights around each bend. Maybe not the high drama of ascending Everest but certainly the reward of delicious lemon drizzle cake and quenching Earl Grey once the rocky bits are out of the way. McKellen delivers an ageless mischievous charm that, if we dare utter the word about an actor over 80, shows that sexy isn’t dependent on how many times you have been around the block or the blokes. It is possible to be the romantic gay lead at 84. Allam also deftly avoids being the ‘straight man’ in the comedy with his easy affability and ability to puncture Percy’s ego without skewering his heart.

Review Roundup: Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in FRANK AND PERCY
Average Rating: 72.5%


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