Golf clubs to golfers are kind of like pens to graphers…reasonably essential. Former World Number 1 and two-time major winner, American golfer Stacy Lewis arrived in Scotland in July for this years British Women’s Open Championship minus her clubs. British Airways had misplaced them…then told her it would take 24 hours to find…then she and her caddie had to make the 300-plus mile trek to London to collect them….then they got a flat tyre. In all of this however the 30 year-old star of the LPGA and currently third in the rankings, still had the good-nature and more importantly a pen to sign this sketch for me.
Eighteen year-old Ellie Bamber is amongst the latest group of rising stars in the British stage and screen scene. Her angelic face came in handy for her latest theatre role as the 14 year-old Dinah Lord in Maria Friedman’s ‘effervescent’ revival of Cole Porter’s High Society at The Old Vic. Promoting her role, which she was attracted to because it was “quite cheeky and good fun,” Ellie appeared in a number of print media publications, one of which I was flicking through on the tube. A photo accompanied it, which I thought would be cool to draw…so i did, then dropped it into the theatre for her to sign…which she did.
Oresteia premiered at the Dionysia Festival in Athens in 458 BC. Now it’s been called one of “the year’s theatrical sensations” by The Guardian’s Charlotte Higgins…well Robert Ickes’ contemporary re-working of the Aeschylus’ trilogy of Ancient Greek tragedies, which had its summer season at London’s small Almeida Theatre has been given that accolade, because it has now deservedly transferred to the West End. In the director’s own words, “it’s the mother of the violent family drama…and feels increasingly like the precursor of The Sopranos.” Playing the Trafalgar Studios for a limited season until November, the story revolves around the usual Greek family drama tragedy themes, murder, revenge and retribution. The plot sees the titular character Orestes and his sister Electra (or Elektra as some care to spell it ), plotting revenge against their mother and stepfather for the murder of their father. Sound familiar? After a short, but acclaimed screen career, twenty-five year-old British actress Jessica Brown Findlay made her stage debut as the ‘gutsy’ sis.
I read in all her recent interviews that Jessica doesn’t like to be referred to as a Downton Abbey actress, so I won’t and I didn’t mention it when she signed this Electra sketch for me at the Trafalgar’s stage door on Saturday. Oh and as a postscript, the play won first prize in the Dionysia Festival in Athens way back in 458 BC, and this production looks like it might garner some awards of it’s own.
John Caird’s stylish production McQueen about the late celebrated fashion designer Lee ‘Alexander’ McQueen, which premiered earlier this year to sell-out audiences at London’s St James Theatre, began its West End run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket last week.
Coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the designer’s death, James Phillips study is not a ‘bio-play’ wrote Fiona Mountford in her Evening Standard review.” The trippy action unfolds over one long night of the soul somewhere very near the end of McQueen’s troubled, high-achieving life.” Considered one of the most innovative designers of his generation, the ‘tortured genius’ hung himself with his favourite brown belt in 2010. The Guardian’s Michael Billington described the production as “primarily an act of worship, a secular hymn to a famous iconoclast who tragically died young at the age of 40.” The critic also wrote, “An excellent lead performance by Stephen Wight…with good support from Tracy-Ann Oberman,” as McQueen’s mentor Isabella Bow, who bought his entire 1992 graduation collection and persuaded him to use his middle name Alexander for his own fashion label. She committed suicide in 2007.
Savage Beauty – a retrospective exhibition of McQueen’s work finished this month at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
I met both Stephen and Tracy-Ann going in for last Saturday’s matinee and they were more than happy to sign this sketch.
“Alice Marshall is a proper actor,” prefaced Martin Walker in his Three Minute interview with her for BroadwayBaby.
In spite of many TV roles, including recently playing Mary Magdalene in The Jesus Mystery “comedy is also in her blood”. Martin’s first question was “You’re an actor, comic and voice over artist. Have I left anything out? Which comes first and why?” Alice replied. “and astronaut obviously. But who isn’t these days?” She said they all “sort of mesh together most of the time and the skills are similar in all facets of entertainment”.
She performed her debut solo comedy show Vicious at London’s Museum of Comedy last month, with the slogan “Life is Cruel. People are arseholes. This is vicious.” Alice takes a long hard look at the world through the eyes of the hurt, the lonely, the angry, the mad, the sad and the completely unhinged.
The Spectator wrote, “she manages to be erotic and extremely funny at the same time without being effortful or cheesy about it. A natural…”
Last year Alice was part of Canal Café Theatre’s long running News Review at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was also part of Alice’s Comedy Wonderland at the Phoenix Artist’s Club in Soho earlier this year, described by Time Out as “going down the surreal comedy rabbit hole at this weirdo gig featuring a collection of comics”. This sketch, which she signed for me, is based on that gig.
Character comic and writer Anna Morris, star of ITV’s Bad Bridesmaid and the BBC’s Outnumbered, performed some work-in-progress gigs of her new show It’s Got To Be Perfect at the Leicester Square Theatre and Museum of Comedy before taking it to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
It’s an interactive wedding rehearsal featuring Georgina the Bridezilla, from Anna’s viral YouTube series Georgina’s Wedding Blogs, she’s getting married and it’s got to be perfect… or else.
Currently playing to packed houses at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms, EdFringeReview wrote, “not only is it funny, it’s interesting, creative and sweet,”
Speaking of sweet, Anna included a promotional love heart candy, when she returned my signed sketch through the mail, which didn’t help the condition of the artwork through the letterbox but left a nice taste in the mouth.
Northern Irish actress Michelle Fairley has returned to London’s Donmar Warehouse for it’s season of Abi Morgan’s power play Splendour. In 2008 she played Iago’s wife Emilia in Othello at the same, intimate Covent Garden venue. It was her lauded portrayal that impressed the Game of Thrones writers , who saw her performance and offered her the role of the ‘maternal Boadicea’, Catelyn Stark in the hit HBO TV series. Inspite of an impressive list of small screen credits, Michelle says that theatre is her preference, hence her return to the boards. She is part of an all-female quartet, which includes Sinead Cusack, Zawe Ashton and Genevieve O’Reilly, playing the best friend of the wife of a dictator whose unnamed regime is collapsing around him.
London-based since 1986, Michelle has openly stated her dislike for Hollywood, where she has worked on a number of projects, including her recurring role as Dr. Ava Hessington in Suites. With that recognition comes the usual increased attention-something I got the impression Michelle isn’t comfortable with. She seemed a little more happier to sign my sketch at the theatre than the piles of glossy 8×10 Thrones stills the swarm of dealers gave her to graph.