British actress Helen Bradbury featured in William Nicholson’s Crash at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in the Autumn of 2010. It was the Tony and Oscar nominated author’s first play in ten years and focuses on the banking crash and its subsequent fallout and blame game.
William’s screenwriting credits include Shadowlands and Gladiator. Helen’s TV CV includes Sherlock, The Borgias and Upstairs Downstairs and appeared in Quartet, directed by Dustin Hoffman. She signed my Crash sketch in the final week of Versailles a the Donmar Warehouse, where one critic called her performance “a striking combination of beauty, pragmatism and idealism”.
Actress and comedian Gemma Whelan took time out from Game of Thrones to return to the stage. She has just completed a run of Dark Vanilla Jungle at the Soho Theatre as part of the Soho Solo Season. It’s a breathtaking drama about one girl’s craving for family and home and the lengths she will go to to achieve them, by award winning writer Philip Ridley.
“On a Fringe full of powerful monologues, there’s none more shattering in its impact than this blazing new solo drama.”
“A masterpiece… An absolute must-see”
“Riveting… the extraordinary performance of Gemma Whelan… vivid and audacious”.
“Grabs you but he throat and takes you to some nasty places… the sheer velocity is astounding.”
I met Gemma after her final performance at the Soho, where she signed my sketch, which she was obviously happy with.
An accomplished actor, director, producer, comedian, novelist, screenwriter and playwright, Mark Gatiss is the modern Renaissance man. “I’m all over the TV like a rat,” he said in The Independent, when they listed all his small-screen involvement over the past winter season. He has written for and acted in DOCTOR WHO and SHERLOCK, which he also created and produced with Steven Moffat and is cast as banker Tycho Nestoris in Season 4 of THE GAME OF THRONES. Mark’s latest stage appearance was Menenius in the Donmar’s acclaimed production of CORIOLANUS, opposite Tom Hiddleston. It was his first Shakespearean role since his student days at Bretton Hall drama school in Yorkshire. The RadioTimes said,”… a beautifully modulated performance, provides the voice of reason throughout the play with skill and precision”. With other super turns under his belt-such as his Charles I in Hampstead Theatre’s 55 DAYS last year – Gatiss really is growing in statue as a stage performer”. Mark said he spent a lot of the play saying “calm down”. He was like Geoffrey Howe to Coriolanus’s Thatcher. Both Mark and Tom, in the title role were nominated for Olivier Awards, which were presented at the Royal Opera House last Sunday (13 April,2014). I drew a quick montage of Mark as Menenius and the seventeenth-century British Monarch, which he signed on the red carpet at the ceremony.
The 65 year old veteran actress Barbara Flynn believes there are now more roles than ever for older women. She currently stars in the new ITV British sitcom Pat & Cabbage with Cherie Lunghi. It’s about two newly single women with no intention of growing old gracefully, much to the annoyance of their kids. “I want to look my age, otherwise who’s going to play the old woman?” she was quoted in the Mail.
Throughout her successful career she has tended to play, as she puts it, “feisty strong women,” beginning with A Family At War and including Cracker, The Beiderbeke Trilogy and A Very Peculiar Practice. Many will remember he as the milk delivery lady and Granville’s unrequited love interest in Open All Hours.
But Barbara’s so-called “live-in” face doesn’t look odl at all when you see her in person. As one writer pointed out, “the few lines are mostly made by laughter,” which is what makes her a delight to meet.
I’ve always enjoyed Barbara’s many performances over the years and finally met her after a performance in the final week of the new WWI play Versailles at the Donmar. I had drawn this sketch some time ago from the early eighties and I took the opportunity to have it signed while she was in theatre. “That was a while ago,’ she laughed, “I drew it a while ago.” I replied. She laughed again and happily signed it.
Now considered one of the world’s greatest living actresses with iconic roles such as the spoilt, rosy cheeked heiress in Titanic, the Nazi war criminal in The Reader, the free-spirited English author in Iris and the repressed suburban housewife in Revolutionary Road, Kate Winslet has come quite a ways from her first acting job, dancing with the Honey Monster in a Sugar Puffs commercial.
One of the more interesting news stories during her promotion for her latest film Divergent was her refusal to sign the nude drawing of herself from Titanic. It’s the image of her famously draped, naked over a sofa while Leonardo DiCaprio sketched. The drawing is said to have been rendered by director James Cameron. “I don’t sign that one,” she said. “people ask me to sign that one a lot… it is still haunting me, I didn’t mean for it to be a photography that I would end up seeing 17 years later.”
Ranked as having one of the “most beautiful famous faces” by the Annual Independent Critics list for 17 consecutive years, I consented in sketching her face only. So here goes, I anxiously hold out my quick portrait as she walks the line and stops. “Oh,” she says, “did you do this?” I nod and simply ask her to sign it “to Mark”. “It’s beautiful and certainly,” she replies. Phew!
Tamla Kari can currently be seen as the female lead Constance Bonacieux in the new BBC adaption of the Alexander Dumas classic The Musketeers, and the sitcom Cuckoo with Greg Davies, Helen Baxendale and Taylor Lautner. She has just completed Versailles at the Donmar – Peter Gills new play focussing on World War I and the conflict’s aftermath. Critic Tim Walker described her as “hauntingly beautiful” in his 4 star review. I sketched Tamla in her role as Mabel, which she signed for me in the final week of the production at the theatre.