Drawing: Ben Miller and Diana Vickers in The Duck House at The Vaudeville Theatre

The DUCK HOUSE

Ben Miller leads an all-star cast, including Diana Vickers, in the West End premiere of The Duck House directed by Terry Johnson at the Vaudeville Theatre. Written by Dan Patterson and Colin Swash, this outrageous laugh out loud comedy is set in a world of dodgy receipts and deceit and Parliamentary panic during the expenses scandal.

On a night better for ducks, the constant rain and an uncovered stage door was a challenge for autograph collecting – Sharpies and showers! So there’s more water than ink on the sketch as both Ben and Diana kindly dodged the drops to sign – sorry about the dodgy scan, it’s not the flattest of drawings any longer!

Drawing: Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina

Keira Knightley

Joe Wright’s bold and innovative “re-imagining of the Russian classic Anna Karenina shot on a single sound stage in a dilapidated theatre starred Keira Knightley in the title role.

The film was adapted by Tom Stoppard from Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel depicting the tragedy of Russian aristocrat Anna Karenina, wife of senior statesman Alexei Karenin who has an affair with the affluent officer Count Vronksy. (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

It garnered four Academy Award and six BAFTA nominations, winning both Best Costume Design prizes.

I just missed getting Keira to sign my sketch of her as the Russian socialite at the film’s world premiere at the Odeon in Leicester Square in September 2012, but eventually got her ‘graph, and might I say, a good ‘graph (usually it’s a quick K) and a dedication at the European premiere of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit a couple of weeks ago.

Drawing: David Tennant as Richard II

David Tennant as Richard II

David Tennant calls theatre work his “default way of being” but there’s no faulting his latest foray on to the boards with the Bard’s Richard II at Stratford-Upon-Avon in October and November 2013, before transferring to the Barbican in London, completing its run last Saturday.

“There are many splendid things about the RSCs production of Shakespeare’s history play, not least of which is David Tennant’s hair,” one critic wrote. “With his startled eyes and concentrated frowns, Tennant is frail, pale and consistently interesting.”

Drawing: Birgitte Hjort Sorensen

Birgitte001

The Danish actress Birgitte Hjort Sorensen took the role of Roxie Hart in the 2007 production of Chicago at the Del Ny Theatre in Copenhagen. Based on that success she reprised the role in the London production at the Cambridge Theatre. Birgitte gained international prominence playing the crusading reporter Katrine Fonsmark in the Danish radio and television production Borgen.

She returned to London last year to play Virgilia in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus opposite Tom Hiddleston at the Donmar Warehouse, where she signed this sketch last week.

Drawing: Dervla Kirwan

Dervla Kirwan001

Irish actress Dervla Kirwan’s breakthrough came with her role as Assumpta Fitzgerald in the BBC drama Ballykissangel, winning a National Television Award in 1996. She is currently in the West End transfer of Conor McPherson’s The Weir, following a sell-out run at the Donmar last year.

She signed this quick 4B pencil portrait at last week’s press night (Tuesday 21 January 2014) at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

Drawing: Sir Kenneth Branagh

Ken Branagh

Lauded as one of the great Shakespearean interpreters on both stage and film, Sir Kenneth Branagh returned to Shakespeare after more than a decade in July 2013. He co-directed and headlined in Macbeth with Rob Ashford at the Manchester International Festival. Alex Kingston played Lady Macbeth. Set in the intimate, deconsecrated St Peter’s Church to sell-out performances, the production will transfer to the Park Avenue Armoury in New York this June, marking Ken’s stage debut in the Big Apple.

A BAFTA and Emmy winner, he is the first man to be nominated for an Academy Award in five different categories, the most recent as Supporting Actor, playing Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn.

He walked the red carpet at the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit European premiere at the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square this week as both director and antagonist Russian Viktor Cherevin, and signed my quick black biro Macbeth portrait.

Drawing: Karen Gillan

Karen Gillan001

Scottish actress Karen Gillan played Amy Pond, the Eleventh Doctor Who‘s (Matt Smith) first companion in May 2009.

She made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne’s greatest play Inadmissible Evidence alongside Douglas Hodge, debuting at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011. She appeared on Broadway in Time To Act, one of the plays included in ‘The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway’ benefitting the non-profit Urban Arts Partnership in November 2013.

Karen signed my sketch after the final night’s performance of Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar stage door.

Drawing: Thandie Newton, Tom Goodman-Hill and Anthony Calf in Death and the Maiden

Death and the Maiden

Argentine-Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman’s DEATH OF A MAIDEN had its revival at the Harold Pinter Theatre in October 2011. It was particularly appropriate that this play should inaugurate the newly named Pinter Theatre (formerly The Comedy), since Harold Pinter was a friend who was instrumental in getting the original production onto the London stage over twenty years ago. It went on to collect the 1992 Olivier Award for Best New Play. Focusing on the after-effects of political torture and the issue of justice in a society emerging from a violent dictatorship, the 2011 revival starred Thandie Newton, Tom Goodman-Hill and Anthony Calf and ran from October through to January 2012.

Drawing: Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson is a two time Olivier Award winner. In 2010 she picked up the first – a Best Supporting Actress Award for her role as Stella in The Donmar Warehouse’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Rachel Weisz, who also won the Best Actress category – followed by the 2012 Olivier for Best Actress as the title character in Anna Christie, also at the Donmar, opposite Jude Law.  She was also nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Mini Series for her role in Jane Eyre. Ruth kindly signed this quick portrait study at the Donmar during the 2011 Anna Christie season.

Drawing: Douglas Hodge in Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar Warehouse

Douglas Hodge Donmar001

After winning both the Olivier and Tony Awards for his performance as Albin in the West End and Broadway productions of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, the exceptional Douglas Hodge headlined the revival of John Osbourne’s semi-biographical INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE at the Donmar in 2011. He played Bill Maitland,an old hack lawyer in crisis. His “soaring rhetorical venom” won unanimous praise and another Olivier nom. Described as a “poignant, witty and compelling” piece of theatre, one critic noted, “there is an acute sense that he is treading a gossamer-thin line between comedy and tragedy.”