Great scoop from Tinuviel, who went to a fundraising performance by Sir Ian McKellen:

I just got back from watching a wonderful performance by Ian Mckellen (yes, I saw Gandalf!) in his one man show of “A Knight Out”. Here is my review.

The Vancouver Playhouse is full of people. All sorts of people, gays who are not afraid to show themselves, kids with their parents and giddy women. The stage is set. We see a large green armchair on a rug beside a coffee table. Just begind this is a coat hanger and encirling this are various pairs of… shoes! The house is astir. The lights go down and all eyes are turned to the stage… waiting… waiting… still nothing. Then at last, after what seemed like minutes of anticipation, the door at the back of the house opens. Ian Mckellen strides down the aisle way sporting a tan over coat, carrying an umbrella and patriotically carrying a very large british flag! The audience errupts with cheers and whoops. He goes and stands on the stage. He takes off the baseball cap he was wearing and looks as though he is going to throw it in to the audience. Of course many people, including me, jump up and yell. Then he takes it back and says. in a very british accent, “What will you g! ive me?”.

Now it must be said that this performance was done as a fundraiser for the Vancouver Playhouse. That’s right, he’s doing it for absolutely nothing! Now a woman jumps up in her seat and says “I’ll give you a big hug!”. He withdraws the hat, saying “Now would I be giving you the hug, or you giving me the hug?” “Either way you like” she responds. Now the bidding starts “50!”, am an shouts. “150” shouts someone else. Finally the hat is sold for $200! People start asking him to try on the shoes. It really feels like were just a bunch of friends gathered in a living room. He tries on all the shoes, until he finds a pair that go nicely with his outfit. Then he picks up a pair that look a bit like white rubber clogs and says “You see these shoes? These were the shoes that Magneto wore at the end of the last movie, and they could be yours!” Once again, the bids start and they are sold for $200 dollars to a mother buying them for her son.

Her goes on to talk about various things, all with good humour of course. He talks about Oscar Wilde, and various other things. Then he comes up with another voice, and goes over to his bobbing head Gandalf toy sitting on a podium on the right of the stage. He proceeds to talk to this Gandalf, while we laugh hysterically. Then he lets us ask some questions. Someone notices the screensaver on his computer, and they ask what it is. I never saw it, but I can imagine. He goes on to answer other questions, but I’m to excited to think and I can’t think of a question for the life of me! He goes on to tell various humourous stories from his life, as well as some very serious recitings of Shakespeare and the reading of a letter his friend wrote to tell his parents he was gay. This was all very interesting and the whole thing really was more like a night out with him then seeing a play.

Then I hear it. “Now I will tell you the opening scene of the next Lord of the RIngs movie” I strruggle to hold back my excitement. “You will see the camera going over some rocks, and then sudenly the camera will go right through the rocks, and you will se Gandalf, and the Balrog, falling. Except this time, the camera will actually follw his down in to the abyss and we will see the fight between Gandalf and the Balrog. And what happens after that I can’t tell you, because I haven’t seen it yet!” WOW! I know the opening scene of The Two Towers!

He goes on to answer more questions. Someone asks how he prepared for Gandalf. He sayshe listened to Tolkien reading a lot, and got the idea for the voice from him. He then read all the books (which he hadn’t done before) and then all he had to do was get in costume and he became Gandalf. Someone asks him what he thinks about Harry Potter. He comment on the death of the actor who plays Dumbledore (please excuse me here, I can’t even remember his name. Also forgive me if I spelled it wrong) but then goes on to say that the actor made a comment on his acting before he died, and so they didn’t exactly part in friendship, I’m afraid to say.

Now he goes over to his coffee table and picks up a great big copy of Lord of the Rings. “Yes!” I say in my head. He opens it up, is about to start, and then come a train of questions all of a sudden. Finally they stop, and he begins to read “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R Tolkien. Chapter one, a Long-Expected Party. When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End…” He goes on right to the explosion of Gandalf’s dragon firework over bywater and the audience errupts with cheers. He sits down and says “More?” Of course! So he goes on to read an excerpt from “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum” about the combat with Gandalf and the Balrog. Explosion of applause.

The evening is drawing to a close. He reads some more Shakespeare, tells a bit more about his life and exits. There is a huge applause. The entire house stands up and cheers. He comes back out, bows again, and to our surprise reads the wind forcast in a very comical way, before he picks up his umbrella, puts on his coat and walks right back up the aisle.

But the excitement isn’t over yet. I couldn’t afford to go to the reception afterwords ($150) so I ran back out to see if I could catch him. He wasn’t there, but I wandered around for a while hoping he might some out. Meanwhile, I looked at the signed merchandise up for auction. There were 2 Two Towers posters, copies of The Fellowship of the Ring, signed books, an X-Men poster signed by the whole cast and a whole bunch more. Sadly, it was all beyond my price range. (100$ and up!) Then he came out. I help back, although there were other people were taking pictures. Finally, since I was shaking all over, my dad (great guy!) went up to him with my newly purchased “The making of the movie trilogy” book, with a forward by Ian Mckellen and asked him to sign it for his daughter! He said yes, and so I went up there too, and I was right there beside Gandalf! He asked my name and wrote “Odessa, wizard white [at least I think that’s what it says], Ian Mckellen, x, 2002” I was ecsatic!! I managed a weak “Thank you”. My dad said a few words to him, telling him what a great mentor he was to the teenagers who were gay, or something liek that, but I could hardly hear it, I was so ecstatic! I was the happiest I’ve been in the longest time! I just hugged the book and jumped up and down. This was the greatest I’ve had in a long time, maybe in my whole life! Not only did I see a wonderful show done by a wonderful actor, but I got his autograph, and he was Ian Mckellen!

Also, Ringer Spy JingerRinger confirmed this story:

Hi, I just came back from Sir Ian McKellen’s “A Knight Out” at the Vancouver Playhouse. Sir Ian announced that the opening sequence for TTT will in fact be the “plunge” of gandalf down the chasm with the balrog! I’ll try to recall his description, as best as I can: The scene starts off just like the TTT theatrical trailer with a sweeping bird’s eye view of the Misty Mountains. After a while the camera will stop and move directly towards a mountain, and right through the rock (into the mountain) to the scene of the bridge of Khazad-dum. The camera will be somewhere above the bridge, looking down on gandalf, and when he falls, the camera will follow him down…