STAGE and screen heavyweights Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart descended on the capital for an intriguing tale of age, loss and laughter.

The pair of Sirs have formed something of a double-act in recent years, appearing together on Broadway and in a string of Hollywood blockbusters.

Harold Pinter's darkly absurdist work No Man's Land reunites them, in a coup of star power for Cardiff's New Theatre.

The veteran Lord of the Rings and Star Trek icons kept the audience laughing with bizarre comic interplay as two ageing writers who drink late into the night, following a chance meeting. However the farcical banter gradually revealed a bleak and sometimes baffling maze of dreams and memories. Soon we were left guessing if anyone was telling the truth. Owen Teale and Damien Molony provided able support as two threatening manservants.

In less capable hands, the dizzying tone and fractured structure could have seen the sold-out audience struggle to make sense of it all. Much has been written on the questions raised by the Nobel Prize-winner's 1975 work and there are no easy answers.

But spending an evening in the company of two true knights of the theatre at the peak of their powers was never anything less than a treat, and an acting masterclass was delivered.

Declan Harte