The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up
A Fantasy in Five Acts
by J. M. Barrie
Directed by John Caird
The Royal National Theatre
Previews began 8 December, 1997
Opened 16 December, 1997

As Captain Hook in John Caird's production of Peter Pan at the Olivier. Photograph: Robbie Jack/Corbis/Getty Images

Photo by Nigel Norrington. Ian McKellen is Captain Hook in Peter Pan "Christmas Entertainment"

Ian McKellen's second production at the National Theatre, after 5 years absence while filming, is J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan directed by John Caird.

Photo by Gautier Deblonde.Copyright National Theatre

"I'm expecting this to be a new look at the fresh version of the classic, with which John and Trevor Nunn astounded the traditionalists some years ago at the Barbican Theatre. I'm not sure whether their Tinkerbell asked us to clap for fairies but I shall never forget Miles Anderson's Peter, tumbling above the stage as the lights faded. That time Mr Darling and Captain Hook were played by Stephen Moore. This Christmas, it's my turn to tread in the steps of Robert Eddison and Cyril Ritchard and Alastair Sim. Alastair enjoyed Hook hugely: he loved to pretend to frighten the children."

Miles Anderson was succeeded by Mark Rylance in the RSC production. At The NT, Peter will be played by the young Welsh actor Daniel Evans. Evans first met McKellen when, as a schoolboy, he regularly travelled from Cardiff to see plays at the NT. In his school play, in Welsh, at the NT, as part of the Lloyds Theatre Challenge, Evans charmed the critics. He studied at Guildhall School of Music and Dramatic Art. McKellen has followed his professional acting with admiration and last saw him as Lysander on the USA tour of Adrian Noble's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

"When I was 3 years old, my parents took me to see my first play — Peter Pan at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. I wasn't over-impressed. For one thing it wasn't a real crocodile and I could see the wires."

Ian McKellen (Hook/Darling) with Daniel Evans (Peter)



Next Play: An Enemy of the People (Los Angeles)