Anyone raised in Penzance, Cornwall must end up in some form of theatrical vocation and that’s exactly what happened to Michael Grandage, who not only works in theatre but is one of Britain’s leading directors and producers. He has won over 13 awards, including an Olivier and a Tony. From 2002 to 2012 he succeeded Sam Mendes as the Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse.
He then established the Michael Grandage Company with James Bierman. They have just completed a fifteen month season of plays at the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End aimed at reaching a new generation of theatregoers through pricing and access with 100,000 £10 seats. Michael directed all five productions, including Privates on Parade with Simon Russell Beale, John Logan’s new play Peter and Alice with Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw, Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan and two Shakespeare plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Sheridan Smith and David Walliams, finishing with Jude Law as Henry V.
Michael is currently taking a break from the boards to direct Genius with Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender.
Australian actress Rose Byrne played the leading role in The Goddess of 1967 which won her the Best Actress award at the 2000 Venice Film Festival. She is probably best known for her role as Ellen Parsons alongside Glenn Close in the television series Damages (2007-2012) which earned her two Golden Globe and two Emmy nominations. She also starred in Insidious, X-Men: First Class and Bridesmaids.
Rose signed my sketch on a chilly, wintery evening on the red carpet for the I Give It A Year premiere at the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square on 24 January 2013.
Critics are unanimous about Juliet Stevenson’s latest stage incarnation in Samuel Beckett’s HAPPY DAYS at the Young Vic. Playing Winnie,a woman tragically aware of her mental plight, requires the actress to be buried in a mound of sand. Sarah Hemming of the Financial Times wrote, “Lear in the storm, Winnie in the sandheap: Two of the greatest stage metaphors for the human condition and two of the most challenging roles for an actor.” The Guardian’s Michael Billington said Juliet “gives a remarkable performance.” and Henry Hutchings of the Evening Standard adds, she “brings grace, poise and a crazed resilience to the incurably optimestic Winnie.” Extra performances have been added due to demand with the play finishing 8 March.
This is a quick sketch I drew from a poster on the wall of the Noel Coward Theatre, where inside, Daniel Radcliffe was playing the title role of cripple Billy Claven in THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN. I was waiting for Dan to make his customary, nightly appearance at the stage door to the waiting multitude. He did so and signed the artwork. Last week he picked up Best Actor at the WhatsOnStage Awards and will reprise the part for the Broadway run this April. Also, last week I watched him play another disabled character – this time the hunchback lab assistant Igor on the set of the revisionist remake of Mary Shelley’s classic horror tale FRANKENSTEIN, which was filming on the Royal Naval College grounds in Greenwich.
Martin McDonagh’s cruel and disgracefully funny The Cripple of Inishmaan premiered in 1997 and received its first major revival as part of Michael Grandage’s star-studded first season of plays at the Noël Coward Theatre during the summer of 2013.
Irish actress Sara Greene plays Helen, the love (albeit secret) interest of the disabled hero Billy – a feisty village wild girl who can’t be restrained from “pegging” eggs at people, especially despised priests, “… getting clergymen groping your arse doesn’t take much skill.”
Pádraic Delaney and Gary Lilburn complete my set of The Cripple of Inishmaan sketches. The third in the series of Michael Grandage’s five plays at the Noël Coward Theatre in London. It transfers for a Broadway run in April.
Pádraic international breakthrough came in 2006 as Irish revolutionary Teddy O’Donovan in Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley, which won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He followed up his role in Inishmaan with a consecutive shift in the following Michael Grandage Company play A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the twin roles of Oberon and Thesus.
Gary can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed Oscar nominated Philomena with Judi Dench