Sixty-six year old veteran actor Ed Harris has made his London stage debut in Sam Shephard’s 1978 Pulitzer Prize winning weird-as-hell family drama BURIED CHILD at the Trafalgar Studios after its successful New York run earlier this year. Directed by Scott Elliot, this ‘impressively unsettling revival’ opened last night for a 14 week engagement.
While he known for his large body of screen work, resulting in multiple Oscar nominations and winning a Golden Globe and SAG awards, Ed began his acting career on the stage. In 1986 he received a Best Actor Tony nomination for his performance in George Furth’s PRECIOUS SONS.
Ed plays Dodge, a septuagenarian Illinois patriarch wedded to his sofa. In his Guardian review Michael Billington called the production “brutally compelling” and “Harris’s impressive as a whiskey-soaked old wreck in Shepard’s gothic story of loveless inertia and poisonous guilt in a dysfunctional family.” He is joined on stage by his wife Amy Madigan. Ed signed my sketch at the stage door during previews a couple of weeks ago.
The Guardian’s influential critic Michael Billington called the National Theatre’s latest revival of Sir Peter Shaffer’s acclaimed play AMADEUS, “a stunning piece of theatre,” and said Lucian Msamati’s performance in the key role as the sensational villain Antonio Salieri, the established court composer obsessed with rival Mozart, with music and ultimately with God was “following in the footsteps of Paul Scofield. Ian McKellen, David Suchet and Rupert Everett, Msamati is an excellent Salieri.”
The British-Tanzanian actor and playwright is best known on the small screen for his role as Salladhor Saan in the HBO series GAME OF THRONES. His extensive stage career includes becoming the first black actor to play Iago in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of OTHELLO in the spring of 2015. Directed by Michael Longhurst, AMADEUS runs in repertory on the Olivier stage until February next year. I dropped this sketch into Lucian’s London agent and he signed and returned it with a complementary dedication.
British actress Sophia McShera is no stranger to playing strong, fiery women. Known for roles as kitchen maid Daisy Robinson in the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning TV series DOWNTON ABBEY and 6th form student Ros McCain in WATERLOO ROAD, Sophie returned to the West End as Jean Rice in the revival of John Osbourne’s THE ENTERTAINER, which has just concluded its run at the Garrick Theatre.
Her last play was back in 2011 when she played Pea opposite Mark Rylance in JERUSALEM at the Apollo. THE ENTERTAINER continues Sophie’s collaboration with Sir Kenneth Branagh in the final production of his Plays at the Garrick season. Sir Kenneth directed her as the nasty stepsister Drisella in the live action Disney film CINDERELLA.
I finally managed to meet Sophie as she left the theatre in the final week and she was happy to sign my drawing.
British actress Phoebe Sparrow returns to the London stage in Sean Foley’s revival of Ron Harwood’s THE DRESSER after making her debut in FATHER AND SONS at the Donmar Warehouse in June 2014. Phoebe plays the ambitious young actress Irene whose infatuation with ‘Sir’ and his growing reciprocation of her attention undermines Norman’s efforts to keep the company in order. As The Stage critic Mark Shenton puts it, “she put’s her legs up, to get a leg up.” Fans of the hit TV drama series DOWNTON ABBEY will be familiar with Phoebe’s recurring role as Amelia Cruickshank, Larry Grey’s fiancé.
I caught up with Phoebe after seeing the production at the Duke of York’s Theatre earlier in the month, where she signed this sketch for me.
Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez makes ATP World Tour Finals debut this week at London’s O2. At 35 – which he says is 200 in tennis years – the current world No. 28 in singles teams up with fellow Spaniard and Lopez, Marc, to compete in the doubles.
They entered the Finals ranked the No.4 team, with Feliciano as the 9th best men’s doubles player on the planet. His highest ranking in the singles was No.12 last year.
Together with Marc they won this year’s French Open beating the Bryan brothers in the final. They also reached the US Open semi finals. The left-handler signed my sketch this week at the O2.
Another rising star on the men’s tennis circuit is the charming David Goffin, who is the alternate at this year’s ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2. ‘La Goff” as he is known did play a pool match, replacing an injured Gael Monfills against Novak Djokovic yesterday.
The 25 year-old right-handler has won two ATP titles. His breakthrough year was 2012, when he missed qualification for the French Open, but gained entry as the ‘lucky loser’, ironically replacing Gael again. He reached the final 16 before being beaten by a certain Roger Federer. This year he reached the quarter finals, attaining a career high No.11, which is his current ranking.
As a diligent alternate, David has been arriving first thing each day to practice with all the players. David is proof that you don’t have be a ‘physical monster’, as the TV commentary team described him, to be a top player. There’s hope for me yet. The charming 5′ 11” Belgian signed my sketch on his arrival earlier this week.
After a stellar year, young tennis player Dominic Thiem made his debut at the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals which started this week at London’s 02 arena. In spite of struggling during the latter part of the season, his four titles earlier in 2016 and a career high ranking of 7 enabled the 23 year-old to become the youngest player in the elite eight man field. Known for his aggressive baseline play, heavy ground strokes and a rare and impressive single-handed backhand. After losing, but taking a set off former No.1 Novak Djokovic in his opening match, Dominic showed his much heralded potential with a win over the stylish Frenchman Gael Monfils in his second pool match to keep his hopes alive of making the semis later in the week. I caught up with ‘The Dominator,’ as he’s nicknamed when he arrived from the clipper at the Greenwich Peninsula pier on Monday. The likeable and humble Austrian liked the drawing and was happy to sign and dedicate it for me.
It’s the ATP World Tour Finals time again and my chance to gather another harvest of signed tennis drawings. My first post is the older half of ‘the first family of British Tennis’, Jamie Murray, who along with younger brother, singles numerous uno Andy could both claim the year-end No 1 doubles and singles spots by end of this week.
Along with his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares, the thirty-year old Scottish left-handler has had an exceptional year, winning both the Australian and US Open titles. His other previous Grand Slam win was the Wimbledon Mixed Doubles with Jelena Jankovic in 2007. In spite of their 2016 success, Jamie and Bruno came into this Tour Finals seeded number 2, but after remaining unbeaten after two rounds have put themselves in the driving seat to take the title and end the year at the top men’s doubles rankings. Earlier in the year Jamie reached the doubles No 1 individual spot in the doubles but is currently No 4. He arrived at London’s 02 early yesterday for his match with the legendary Bryan brothers and said “Nice one” as he signed this sketch it for me.
“You get to solve a crime, meet Cher (as a bat) and fall in love with the women with Two Heads – it’s a damn good time!” said acclaimed comedian Alison Thea-Skot about her latest show IT’S THEA-SKOT IN HERE (SO TAKE OFF ALL YOUR CLOTHES), which had its sold out, five star run at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe following her equally impressive SOME LIKE IT THEA-SKOT last year. Funny Women described her as “Everything an Edinburgh Fringe show should be, brave, silly, a little bit unhinged and very, very funny.” The British solo character comedian, actress, writer and improviser has moved extensively from Shakespeare’s Globe to the BBC’s Basil Brush. She was nominated for Best Actress at the 2014 British Independent Film Festival for her role in DESIRE.
It was an absolute pleasure to meet Chortle’s ‘comic genius’ after her one-night stand-up last week at London’s Museum of Comedy in the bowels of St George’s Church in Bloomsbury, where she signed this montage sketch for me.