Frank and Percy: Reviews (update)

Find out what the critics had to say about Roger Allam’s performance as Frank in Frank and Percy at the The Other Palace, London…

★★★★★ (…) it earns five stars for being beautifully crafted and perfectly played, which is what you’d expect when you have Ian McKellen and Roger Allam as the leads. (…) Allam is such a naturalistic actor (…)

Attitude, Frank and Percy review: A beautifully crafted and perfectly played senior gay love story, 28 September 2023

© Jack Merriman, 2023

★★★★ Ian McKellen and Roger Allam are a delight in this spikey comedy about two grumpy dog owners who find love late in life. (…) played by fellow national treasure Roger Allam (…) Instead it’s two of our greatest actors flexing their comedy muscles and Yorkshire accents. Allam is sweet and openhearted, McKellen is spikey and horny; they’re lovely performances, not grandstanding ones. It’s a very cosy play in a lot of ways, but the venerable duo’s big, end-of-first-act snog feel quietly radical.

Time Out, Frank and Percy, 27 September 2023

★★★★★ Frank & Percy is everything you want it to be and more. Two acting legends, the incomparable Ian McKellen and Roger Allam, doing what they do best with a script that lets them do it. (…) as high as expectations might be, these two do not disappoint. (…) Frank & Percy is a must-watch. For the story alone it is a must-watch. And if not for the story then for the humour. If not for the humour then for the  charm. If not for the charm then for Ian McKellen. If not for Ian McKellen then for Roger Allam. And if not for Roger Allam then for Toffee and Bruno.

The Upcoming, Frank and Percy at The Other Palace, 27 September 2023

★★★★ By his side, Allam’s more naturalistic performance has a compelling solidity, his face just barely showing alternate ripples of frustration and fascination with his charismatic dog-walking partner as they try to make their relationship work, beyond the Heath.

The Independent, Frank and Percy review, 28 September 2023

And Allam – an actor equally adept at musicals (he was the original Javert in the RSC premiere of Les Misérables in 1985), classics (he’s played Falstaff and Prospero, both at the Globe in 2010 and 2013 respectively), and new plays (he was in the original National production of Michael Frayn’s Democracy in 2003) – is his affable foil, stumbling towards a different kind of emotional fulfilment. It feels like a victory against loneliness(…)

Plays International, “Frank and Percy” at The Other Palace, 27 September 2023

Sir Ian McKellen and Roger Allam (excuse me — why isn’t he knighted?) are two of the finest actors of the English-speaking stage, and in Ben Weatherill’s new play, they sparkle as two diamonds — rich with experience, and a delight to watch. (…) llam matches him every step of the way: a dull-set northern twang and sardonic delivery, his Frank is more brittle than McKellen’s Percy, though no less effecting. The audience melt when he finally says, “I want to kiss you.” It’s note-perfect. They’re legends, and cannot be faulted.

The Prickle, Frank and Percy, 28 September 2023

© Jack Merriman, 2023

Both, unsurprisingly, do stellar work in Frank and Percy, bringing both genuine warmth and richly layered sadness to these older characters who have many regrets behind them. (…) Allam and McKellen’s dramatic prowess won’t come as a surprise to most who visit, but there’s still a sense of wonder at watching two actors so in command of their craft sharing the stage. Both are also very funny, whether selling bold, brazen jokes or giving dry cutting reactions to whatever foolishness the other has demonstrated. An absolute joy sweeps the audience when the characters, and the actors, are allowed to let loose and have fun on stage. (…) Benefitting greatly from both the talent and the reputations of its stars, the play deserves a long life but will struggle to find two actors as well-suited to these characters, who McKellen and Allam play as if they were new and organic moments, rather than the beats of a play.

★★★★ All That Dazzels, Review: Frank and Percy, 28 September 2023

Both Ian McKellen and Roger Allam deliver their parts with warmth, presence and effortless naturality – and though there’s some distance between their portrayals which never seems to completely fade away (maybe, though, a requirement for this recount), the tandem they build on the boards is still haunting enough to be worth a watch.

First Night Magazine, Love is like a butterfly, 27 September 2023

Both Ian McKellen and Roger Allam are incredible actors and I was looking forward to seeing how they played off one another. It was, undoubtedly, an acting masterclass from these two theatre giants; and story aside, felt like an honour to watch them perform. (…) However, McKellen and Allam do so with ease and take command of the space that they’re given. (…) Roger Allam shines as the witty, no-nonsense Frank (…)

Stage to Page, Frank and Percy | Review, 27 September 2023

★★★★★ (…) what makes the evening fly, and fly it does, is watching two superb actors command the stage, play off one another, seize their solo moments and create two believable people. They aren’t doing eye catching turns or camping it up for laughs. You could sit next to either of them on a park bench on a bus. You probably know one or the other. McKellen gets the best lines, which he delivers with relish, but it is Allam who holds the eye.

ReviewsGate, Allam & McKellen at the top of their game, 27 September 2023

…and previously at the Royal Theatre Windsor…

★★★★ What gives this unpredictable two-hander extra resonance is the casting. The venerable Ian McKellen and Roger Allam are note perfect as the duo who chat and bicker and edge towards a fragile sense of mutual understanding in a concise series of scenes. Even when they lapse into awkward silences, they remain profoundly expressive.

The Times, Ian McKellen and Roger Allam are note perfect in moving male study – 15 June 2023

© Jack Merriman, 2023

★★★★ It’s a formidable duo. Allam is as brilliantly dry as ever, his face all guilelessness and impassivity. When romance emerges, the fact that Percy is a man is rather sweetly unremarkable to him. His buttoned-up naturalism clashes believably with McKellen’s camper, more dramatic style, full of flinging arms and his trademark long linger on the end of certain wordssss. (…) The odd couple effect comes through brilliantly: as Percy reminisces about a 28-year-old toyboy he once had a fling with, with reference to his own ‘dextrous tongue’, Allam’s face flickers between surprise, confusion, horror and delight while also barely changing at all.

Evening Standard, Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in a radical odd-couple romance – 15 June 2023

★★★★ The Daily Mail, Age is no barrier to laughter – 15 June 2023

★★★ Sir Ian McKellen and (probably choosing not to be Sir) Roger Allam are Percy and Frank, the two doyens of English theatre entirely at ease with each other (…) There’s a pleasure to be had in watching two craftsmen go about their work (…)

Broadway World, Review: Frank and Percy – 15 June 2023

★★★★★ Allam and McKellen have superb chemistry on stage.  Allam does what he does best, keeping a straight and expressionless face while McKellen is more animated in his approach. The pair have razor sharp comedy timing, and they need it because this is a wildly funny play.

Theatre Weekly, Funny, heartfelt, and a truly beautiful piece of theatre – 15 June 2023

★★★ Warm performances from Roger Allam and Ian McKellen (…) Allam and McKellen are wonderfully watchable, sharing an easy, believable chemistry and wringing laughs and bittersweet emotion from the intentionally mundane dialogue. (…) Allam’s Frank is the more reserved of the two, but also the more compassionate. Holding his emotions tightly in check at first, he opens up gradually, and by the end of the play is wearing his heart on his sleeve, freed from either shame or need. Allam makes the journey feel clear and completely plausible.

© Jack Merriman, 2023

The Stage, Roger Allam and Ian McKellen share an easy, believable chemistry in this sentimental show about love in later life – 15 June 2023

Ian McKellen and Roger Allam star in a rambling but unabashed depiction of desire after middle-age. Allam, previously seen with McKellen under Sean Mathias’s direction in Aladdin, is sweetly bumbling (…)

The Guardian, McKellen and Allam’s banter meanders into romance – 15 June 2023

The two great actors have fun as old-timers who form a surprising romantic bond (…) with that zingy Allam timing (…)

The Telegraph, Ian McKellen and Roger Allam charm (…) – 15 June 2023

★★★★ Dream team: Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in Frank And Percy. Both touching and funny, with two great actors working hand in glove.
The Mail +, Touching, funny tale of two old grumps, 18 June 2023

★★★ McKellen bristles with an endearing stubbornness while Allam’s portrait of a man coming to terms with the newly realised dimensions of his sexuality and identity in later life is profoundly moving. (…) But it’s an appealingly comfortable watch, written with a gentle sincerity and played with considerable tenderness.

WhatsOnStage, Frank and Percy with Ian McKellen and Roger Allam – review, 19 June 2023

McKellen and Allam are without doubt one of the great stage double acts. Both touching and funny, with two great actors working hand in glove.

The New European, McKellen and Allam are a charming odd couple, 21 June 2023

Frank and Percy plays at The Other Palace until 17 December 2023


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