TWELFTH NIGHT (Cambridge)
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Waris Habibullah (Hussein)
Ian McKellen in the role of Toby Belch
Cambridge Arts Theatre
27 September 1960 - 1 October 1960
Words from Ian McKellen
Toby Belch is a strenuous part, the engine of the play’s comedy, although he is not as obviously funny as Malvolio or Aguecheek. Padded and be-whiskered, I was happier playing an outrageous eccentric, after the romantic juveniles I had been trying to crack. I learnt the basics of fencing and enjoyed acting the fool.
As Viola, Margaret Drabble triumphed yet again and Trevor Nunn was her unidentical twin, Sebastian, my old part. Desmond Jones, as Valentine, showed no sign of his subsequent prowess, which he practised at his School of Mime and Physical Theatre.
Our director was Waris Hussein (nee Habibullah) who later gave me my first film part in “The Millstone”, adapted from the novel by Margaret Drabble. — Ian McKellen, December 2006