5 December 2016 | PipAndSqueak
My goodness, you don't get better than this. Tony Hopkins and Ian McKellen are perfectly cast in this authentic feeling take on travelling theatre during the second world war. Ill and aged, 'Sir' has premonitions, Norman (the Dresser) is desperate to hang on to what little life he has as Sir's most trusted aide. Without his role he has nothing. Norman is so caught up in his own anxieties he misses the clues to Sir's nagging self-doubts, his statements that 'he can't go on' and that 'really he should be resting at home'. Hopkins's portrayal is so subtle it is heart rending. This subtlety cannot be gained on stage as stray tears cannot be seen from the stalls let alone the gallery. McKellen, meanwhile, fusses and flaps with perfectly understood gay mannerisms for the period setting. As Norman, he gets perfectly right the intonation in his voice as he ducks and bows to Sir. These two actors provide stand out performances but this is not to commend all the other actors who also pull off incredibly touching and believable performances. Oh yes, this is worth watching, just be prepared to be left bereft.