Ian McKellen Emerges From Giant Gold Egg to Reveal New Role as ‘Mother Goose’ in Pantomime Production

Ian McKellen, two-time Oscar nominee, Tony award-winner and recipient of a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II, is set to appear in a pantomime production of “Mother Goose” this winter.

McKellen announced the news on Monday morning in central London by emerging from a giant gold egg alongside comedian John Bishop, who will also be starring in the production. Former “Great British Baking Show” host Mel Giedroyc (pictured above, holding McKellen’s hand) will also appear.

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McKellen will play the title role of Mother Goose (also known as “Ma”) while Bishop will play Mother Goose’s husband Vic (“Pa”). As the show opens, the avian couple are running an animal sanctuary inside an abandoned department store.

“But when a magical goose (Giedroyc) comes a-knocking, will fame & fortune get the better of them?!” reads the logline. “Will Ma’s feathers get ruffled? Will Pa tell everyone to get stuffed?! And is their humble life about to turn fowl? Get ready for fairies with hefty vocal chords, puppets with tap dance qualifications and impeckably constructed mayhem that will quack up the whole family.”

“Mother Goose,” which is written by Jonathan Harvey (“Coronation Street”) and directed by Cal McCrystal (“Inside No. 9”), will launch at the Theatre Royal Brighton at the beginning of December before moving to the West End and then embarking on a four-month tour around the U.K.

This will not be the first panto performance for McKellen, who is perhaps best known for his roles as Gandalf in the original Lord of the Rings trilogy and Magneto in the X-Men films. He appeared in a pantomime production of “Aladdin” for two consecutive Christmases, in December 2004 and December 2006, playing Widow Twankey.

Pantomimes are considered a British institution, often taking place around the Christmas period. They are usually based on traditional children’s fairytales such as “Jack and the Beanstalk” or “Cinderella” and often feature at least one character in drag.

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