Collecting siggies from large casts can be murder! The celebrated Ealing comedy The Ladykillers had seven cast members – not in itself a large number, and in fact to some a lucky numeral, but collecting their graphs could be no laughing matter. Waiting at the stage door after the show can prove a problem, because they may all come out at once (or they may all stay in for drinkies). And, unlike school children, lining up on command so you can collect their scribble one at a time isn’t usually in the thespians repertoire. It was best, I thought, to get them going in. Stupidly I chose the final week, so if you miss, it’s curtains.
A the penultimate Saturday matinee, I duly arrived at the Gielgud Theatre stage door at high noon. Like clockwork, each cast member arrived… individually, and gladly signed. Peter Capaldi, Ben Miller, Stephen Wright. I had actually got Harry Peacock earlier, passing the Comedy Theatre where his wife, Katherine Parkinson, was performing. I then discovered that I could get the ‘killers’, but the ‘Lady’ had already gone in. Bugger. But, James Fleet to the rescue, “If you trust me with your drawing I’ll take it in for her and return it.”
Great stuff. He returned promptly with Marcia Warren’s ‘graphed sketch. Oh, and one of the ‘killers’ had left the show due to illness. Clive Rowe was in my drawing but not in the house, I eventually got his signature to complete the set at the Old Vic during the season of Kiss Me Kate, almost a year later!