Drawing: Jim Broadbent and Rachael Stirling in Theatre of Blood

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Theatre of Blood is a cultish 1973 MGM film that featured Vincent Price as Edward Lionheart, an old, vengeful Shakespearean ham actor and Diana Rigg as his Cordelia -like daughter, Edwina.

Having been robbed of the coveted ‘Critics Cirtcle’ award, Lionheart decides to murder seven critics – each representing one of the seven deadly sins, one by one.

The butchery takes place in a crumbling derelict theatre and each critic’s demise is inspired by the deaths of characters in the plays Lionheart performed in his final season of Shakespeare Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Troilus and Cressida, Richard III, Othello and Henry VI, Part I.

The National Theatre produced the stage version, which was adapted from the film by British Company ‘Improbable’ with Oscar winner Jim Broadbent playing Lionheart and two time Olivier nominee Rachael Stirling (Diana Rigg’s daughter) playing his daughter Miranda (not Edwina).

The adaption ran at the National’s Lyttleton Theatre between May and September 2005.

Drawing: Alan Bennett and Alan Jennings

Alex Jennings as Bennett

Winner of three Olivier Awards, Alex Jennings is one of Britain’s most revered actors and has been lauded as the new John Gielgud. His latest stage appearance was in the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed double bill, Untold Stories by Alan Bennett. Alex plays Alan in two autobiographical recollections “Hymn” a touching story of music and childhood and “Cocktail Sticks” which revisits some of the themes and conversations of the author’s memoir A Life Like Other People’s.

It transferred to The Duchess Theatre in April this year and completed its run last Saturday evening.

On press night, Alex stopped the curtain call applause to recall his old friend and colleague Richard Griffiths. He delivered a tear choked address and reminded the packed auditorium that the lights had been dimmed across the West End at 7.28pm in honour of the actor who had died the previous week following complications after a heart operation.

Drawing: Amy Adams

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Amy Adams portrays Lois Lane in the rebooted Superman franchise Man of Steel. The 38 year old, three time Academy Award nominee braved the wind and the rain in Leicester Square, London to sign for as many people as possible. Including my sketch. Even though the wind was flapping it around and the rain was turning it into maché she took her time to sign an dedicate it and compliment me – which I returned – a real trooper.

Drawing: Sally Field

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Popular American actress Sally Field signed my sketch a few years ago when I sent it to her via ABC studios where she was in the family drama Brothers & Sisters (2006-2011). She received both an Emmy and a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for her performance in the series. Sally has also won two Best Actress Academy Awards for Norma Rae (1979) and Places in the Heart (1984)

Drawing: Juliette Binoche

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Juliette Binoche signed my drawing at the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair, London after a Q&A session following the screening of her film Certified Copy in August 2010.

She won the Best Actress Award at Cannes that year for her role in the movie.

Drawing: Daniel Radcliffe in Equus

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When Richard Griffiths passed away earlier this year, Daniel Radcliffe lead the tributes:

“Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. In August 2000, before official production had even began on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursley’s, which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease. Seven years later, we embarked on Equus together. It was my first time doing a play, but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humour made it a joy. Any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever by his presence. I am proud to say I knew him.”

Peter Shaffer’s Equus is a favourite of mine, both on screen and stage. A revival, directed by Thea Sharrock opened at the Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in February 2007 and subsequently transferred to the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway, running until February 2009. Daniel received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Play.

I did a quick ‘montage’ sketch of Daniel as Alan Strang, the boy who blinds a number of horse with a hoof pick and Richard’s Martin Dysart, a child psychiatrist trying to understand the cause of the boys actions, while wrestling with his own sense of purpose.

In the mayhem that surrounds Daniel I risked damage at this year’s Olivier Theatre Awards at the Royal Opera House to get it signed. Daniel’s signature is always his full name, so that combined with haste to sign as many as possible means the final ‘graph can vary in quality. However, he did take the time to dedicate it to me and seemed genuinely touched by the drawing.

I had also drawn another sketch of just Daniel with Richard behind him, so dropped it into the rehearsal room where Daniel was preparing for The Cripple of Inishmaan (currently in previews at the Noël Coward Theatre). I also enclosed a flyer for him to sign, which he did and sent it back. As you can see, the more ‘relaxed’ ‘graph is a model of legibility.

inishmaan flyer001

Drawing: Randy Newman

Randy Newman001‘Short People’ was a surprise and controversial hit in 1977 for Randall Stuart ‘Randy’ Newman and one of my favourite tunes-a kind of an anthem for us vertically-challenged types. Randy always maintains it was written as a joke, like a number of his satirical pop songs. He has also produced numerous film scores and has the dubious distinction of having the most Academy Award nominations (15) without a single win. In 2002, when he eventually picked up the Best Original Song Oscar for ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ from MONSTERS INC,he received a standing ovation. He reacted with the opening joke to his acceptance speech, “I don’t need your pity.” He did beat an impressive line-up: Sting, Enya and Sir Paul McCartney. He picked up his second Oscar after his 20th nomination in 2011 for ‘We Belong Together’ from TOY STORY 3 and quipped, “My percentages aren’t great.” He does have a way to go to match his uncle, Alfred Newman,the dean of Hollywood composers. He was nominated 54 times for nine wins,including one for THE KING AND I in 1956. Randy has also won a handful of Emmys and Grammys and was inducted into the Rock-And -Roll Hall of Fame in April this year.

In February 2012 Randy played London’s Royal Festival Hall, but I missed meeting him to have my sketch signed in person, so sent it to the Carre Theatre in Amsterdam, where he had a gig on 12 March. Sending items to venues is always a hit-and-miss affair,but I have a high success rate with the Dutch and they continued that trend.

Drawing: Catherine Deneuve

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Catherine Fabienne Dorléac is one of France’s most renowned actresses and better known as Catherine Deneuve.

Promoting the period comedy film Potiche at the British Film Institute in June 2011, she was ‘mobbed’ by autograph hunters and protected by a number of of security staff as she quickly went from the entrance to the BFI’s green room.

I was positioned at the halfway point on the bend. She was about to rush by, saw the sketch and stopped to sign it, then continued on her trajectory at light speed.

Earlier that year, she made headlines in Madrid when she was asked to put out her cigarette at a press conference promoting the same film. She said she would rather pay the fine. I didn’t see her with a ciggy in hand, but I did get her siggy, which was very fine!

Drawing: Lynda Baron

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Nurse Gl-Gl-Gl-Gladys Emmanuel – the object of Arkwright’s affections  in Open All Hours – alias Lynda Baron signed my sketch after a performance of J.B. Priestley’s  When We Were Married at the Garrick Theatre in the West End in November 2012.

She is currently featuring in D.H. Lawrences’s The Daughter at the Sheffield Crucible.

Drawing: Eddie Izzard

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A quick, minimal lined indian ink portrait with letraset spirit-based marker of comedian, actor and sometimes transvestite Eddie Izzard (without eyeliner). I’m seeing his Force Majeure show tonight at London’s O2.

I met him at the British Film Institute in December 2011, when he did a Q&A after the screening of his film Lost Christmas. He said, “you know, I usually sign drawings on the back,” and did so. A quick, moderately line ‘graph in blue sharpie

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