Theatre critic's view: Sir Ian McKellen improvises as Miranda floats past during the Paralympics opening ceremony
Thursday 30 August 2012
Ian McKellen stepped forward as Prospero after Rihanna's shower power and a tempest of electric light rain that would make up for all that dryness in the warm-up Olympics.
But he'd lost his script, so he improvised a modern imprecation, telling his daughter, Miranda, floating by in a flying wheelchair, to "go out into the world…and shine your light on to the beautiful diversity of humanity".
It was literate, but it wasn't Shakespeare. And – sorry to be a party-pooper at the friendly games – it was, well, a bit banal.
Sir Ian remained in long shot and didn't act remotely sonorous, which was something. Perhaps he was in a sulk: Prospero's lines had been nicked, after all, at last month's opening ceremony by Ken Branagh.
Miranda's brave new world was a place where she would take the journey for all of us and set us free, whereas Prospero would stay where he was; he's only freed by our indulgence at the end of the play.
Perhaps Sir Ian – who coincidentally played the first dramatic role broadcast on Channel 4, and a disabled one at that, in a film called Walter – made a point in playing only a walk-on part.
The leading players on this occasion are those who can't always walk. "For those who can, please stand for the National Anthem," asked the announcer.
Stephen Hawking backed up Sir Ian by commanding Miranda to "be curious".
She looked gobsmacked by the huge model representations of Isaac Newton's apple, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a shivering, coloured glass and brolly tribute to the Higgs particle.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant