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: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
Terminally-ill Club Brugge fan Lorenzo Schoonbaert delays euthanasia appointment to see his beloved football club 'win one last time'
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'