Kyle Soller is an American actor, living in London having graduated from RADA in 2008. His breakthrough year was in 2011 when he won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Newcomer for stellar performances in The Glass Menagerie and The Government Inspector, both at the Young Vic and The Faith Machine at the Royal Court.
In 2012 he performed the role of Edmund in Eugene O’Neill’s harrowing autobiographical play A Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Apollo Theatre with David Suchet and Laurie Metcalf. The sketch is based on that character and he signed it for me at the theatre. Kyle is currently appearing in Marlowe’s Edward II at the National.
The revival of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s hilarious and heartfelt 2008 landmark play, The Pride, just concluded after an extended run at the Trafalgar Studios due to overwhelming demand. It examines changing attitudes to sexuality, looking at intimacy, identity and the courage it takes to be who you really are.
It featured Hayley Atwell, Harry Hadden-Paton, Al Weaver and Mathew Horne in what critics described as “an era-spanning masterpiece… brilliant, vibrant and ingenious.”
I gave my sketch to Harry at the theatre and he and the cast signed it on the final performance on Saturday.
Shakespeare’s Globe commissioned Howard Brenton to write a new play – Anne Boleyn. It premiered at the Globe Theatre on 24 July 2010 with Miranda Raison in the title role as Henry VIIIs notorious second wife. It received high critical acclaim and won Best New Play at the What’s On Stage Theatregoers Choice Awards in 2011. Sell out performances resulted in its return for two months in 2011.
Not some dusty, historical drama, it was described as a tale full of life and humour, adventure and romance, all tinged with sadness. It is a celebration of a great English heroine who was a significant force in the political and religious fight leading to the English reformation. While sharp intelligence, political acumen and forward manners are desirable in a mistress, they were at the time unacceptable in a wife… the rest, as they say, is ‘herstory’.
Miranda is best known for her role as Jo Portman in the British television series Spooks (a show Howard Brenton also wrote scripts for). She also played Anne Boleyn in Henry VIII in the same season at the Globe.
The play opens with Miranda addressing the audience holding her severed head, rendered in my sketch which Miranda kindly signed. She also sent me a lovely note, thanking me for a “wonderful drawing”.
Janie Dee is the charming and versatile multi-award winning British actress, singer and musical theatre star. She won the three most prestigious awards in British Theatre, the Olivier, the Evening Standard and the Critic’s Circle Award for Best Actress in a Play. In addition, she has also collected the Obie and Theatre World Best Newcomer Award in New York for her legendary performance as Jacie Triplethree in Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential, which was written especially for her. Janie also won the Oliver for Best Supporting Actress in a musical for her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in Nicholas Hytner’s acclaimed production of Rodger and Hammerstein’s Carousel at the National Theatre.
She signed a previous sketch I drew of the Noises Off cast at the Old Vic in late 2011. Due to popular demand it transferred to the Novello Theatre, where she signed this drawing. She remembered the previous sketch and was very complimentary, offering me free tickets to her cabaret show at the Hippodrome the following month.
George Farquhars 1706 Restoration comedy The Recruiting Officer was Josie Rourke’s first play as the new artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse in 2012. She assembled an impressive cast for this pacy and complicated piece in which big themes (love and war) are presented amid a riot of bed-hopping, social blockades, meddling servants and enticing legacies. Described as an unashamed celebration of love, lustiness and victory in battle and in the bedroom, it was a critical success, ensuring Josie’s tenure at the Donmar got off to a bright start.
On the 12th of April 2012, I managed to get all the cast on my sketch (Nicholas Burns, Nancy Carroll, Mackenzie Crook, Kathryn Drysdale, Mark Gatiss, Gawn Grainger, Tobias Menzies and Rachael Stirling) to sign it – not an easy feat given that there were eight of them leaving through various exits and often at the same time.
Eve Best is one of the most compelling British stage actors of her generation, with an unforgettable run of performances over the past decade and a half, including an Olivier Award for Hedda Gabler.
Earlier this year, after a stint in the long running American TV comedy Nurse Jackie, she returned to the London stage – to be more precise, Shakespeare’s Globe – for her directorial debut, with the “Scottish Play”.
Eve signed my sketch in June 2012 at the Old Vic Theatre while she was performing in The Duchess of Malfi