Husband and wife team Toby Stephens and Anna-Louise Plowman appeared in Noël Coward’s classic comedy Private Lives at the Gielgud Theatre in July 2013.
A married couple playing a married couple; the line between reality and fiction becomes blurred and hard to define – a bit of ‘dramatic ambiguity’. It was the second time they played newly-weds Elyot and Sybil after a successful run at Chichester the previous Autumn. The entire cast, including Anna Chancellor and Anthony Calf, transferred to the West End.
Coward’s tale is of former lovers Elyot and Amanda who meet five years after their divorce while both on honeymoon with new amours. Reignited passion follows. Toby’s parents Dame Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens previously starred in a John Gielgud directed production of the same play, alongside Anthony’s mother-in-law Polly Adams.
Toby and Anna-Louise both co-produced the London transfer and both happily signed my sketch the stage door on an autumnal evening in September 2013.
British actor Daniel Mays’ impressive list of credentials extend beyond the screen to the stage. Recently part of the stellar cast in Mojo at the Pinter, Daniel preceded it with his role as the pretentious thespian Ferdinand Gadd who fervently believes his audience can no longer be denied his Orlando in the wonderfully funny Trelawny of the Wells at the Domar Warehouse in London in 2013.
After directing such films as Atonement and Anna Karenina, this was Joe Wright’s first play, and he chose Pinero’s warm hearted tibute to the theatrical medium itself, written in 1898. Daniel was nominated for the WhatsOnStage Best Supporting Actor Award for his roles in both Trelawny and Mojo
American golfer Paula Creamer has won 12 tournaments, including 10 LPGA Tour events since her rookie year in 2005. That included the 2010 US Women’s Open.
Nicknamed ‘The Pink Panther’ due to her fondness for wearing pink, Pink Panther club covers and sometimes playing with pink balls, Paula has been as high as number 2 in the Women’s World Golf Rankings.
She recently competed in the final major the year – the Evian Championship at the Evian Resort Club in Evian-les-Banis, finishing seventh after a strong finish wit a bogey-free 66 in the final round. The former champion (2005) signed my sketch at the resort last week… in blue, not pink.
Oh yes, and the other thing, she travels with her dog, a Coton de Tulear called Studley.
The delightful Welsh actress Joanna Page not only signed my sketch, she sent me a complimentary note with it. After graduating from RADA she spent ten years treading the boards in costume dramas at the National and for the Royal Shakespeare Company, followed by film appearances, including Miss Julie and Love, Actually. But she is probably best known for her lead role in the BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey, playing Stacey the bubbly protagonist from Barry.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Joanna said that despite all her roles, the character of Stacey is the one she still identifies with the most. “I think I will always be seen as this small, blonde 20 year old, even in my fifties. I will be like Felicity Kendall is now.”
Maybe it was because he’s Robin Hood on the telly, or more lily because he is Thorin Oakenshield in Perter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy that accounted for the hoards of people – mostly female – that became part of the nightly vigil to meet Richard Armitage outside the Old Vic stage door in London during its recent season of The Crucible.
At the heart of Arthur Miller’s tale of religious hysteria in the Salem Witch trials of 1692 was an immense performance as John Proctor from Richard. Apparently his first stage part was playing an elf in a production of The Hobbit at the Alex Theatre in Birmingham. His appearance certainly created some offstage hysteria as well.
Once again I left it to the final week to try and get a sketch signed, with the excepted consequences. Actually, as a back up I did leave one a couple of months earlier at the theatre, but it hadn’t appeared through the mail box by the time the last few days rolled around. This sketch was a quick one of Richard and Samantha Colley in rehearsal.
At three and a half hours The Crucible‘s Finish time was 11pm, giving a small window of opportunity before the last train home. The line stretched along the entire side wall of the Old Vic, from stage door to front door. I was positioned three quarters down it with tales of woe by ardent ‘Armitagees’ that he doesn’t always complete the line. This night he did, but very quickly. To accommodate everyone’s demands he used the abbreviated initials ‘RA’ not the full version. ‘RA’ with a tail and lower case ‘g’ slipped near the end like an abandoned hair clip. Still, he quickly graphed my drawing and moved on.
Twelve Angry Men was originally written for television in 1954, later adapted as a feature film with Henry Fonda, then for the stage.
The real-time jury room drama, in which a lone crusader for justice (Juror 8) persuades his unforgiving fellow white jurors that the unseen black prisoner on trial for his life may not be guilty, returned to the London stage at the Garrick Theatre at the end of 2013 and early 2014.
Nick Moran, “every mum’s favourite angel-faced thug” (as described by The Spectator), is Juror 7, a nervy, clownish, spivvy marmalade salesman, impatient to delivery any verdict so he can slope off to watch a ball game. He was part of an impressive ensemble cast that included Martin Shaw, Robert Vaughn, Jeff Fahey, Miles Richardson and Tom Conti.
Joanna Riding is one of the true gems of British musical theatre. In a sparkling career that began at the Chichester Festival Theatre in the 80s she has been nominated for four Olivier Awards, winning two, for her role as Julie Jordan in Nicholas Hytner’s revival of Carousel at the National Theatre in 1993 and her performance as Eliza Doolittle in Trevor Nunn‘s revival of My Fair Lady in 2003, also at the National.
This is a quick sketch of Joanna as Babe Williams, the feisty Union rep at the Sleep-Tite Garment Factory in Richard Eyre’s wonderful production of the 1954 Broadway classic The Pajama Game. The West End Transfer from Chichester completes a limited season at London’s Shaftesbury Theatre today, trailing five star reviews.