Drawing: Butley at The Duchess Theatre


A summer’s day in London, and what better way to spend it than taking in a matinee of a West End play. Some may say there are better things to do on a summer’s day, but this is London and it was raining, (we had summer the weekend before). I chose the late Simon Grey’s dark comedy Butley at the Duchess. University lecturer, T.S.Eliot scholar and perpetual drunk Ben Butley is having a monumentally bad day, so bad, he’s making sure everyone else has a worse one. His trusty arsenal of mischievous irony and gleeful troublemaking prove to be the weapons of his own self-destruction. In the title role was the charismatic Dominic West, ably supported by a superb cast, Paul McGann, Amanda Drew, Martin Hutson, Penny Downie, Emma Huddleston and Cai Brigden. Last year I posted a couple of sketches  Dominic and Paul signed, but this black biro drawing included all seven cast members. It is,however, difficult to get stuff signed while inside the theatre watching the play, although I always think the best time to get everyone would be during the curtain call. Alas,not a plan shared by theatre management. Multiple cast can prove logistically difficult for obvious reasons, none more so than when they all leave at the same time it’s like trying to collect marbles rolling on a glass floor. The Duchess Theatre does have one thing going for the autograph aficionado, there’s only one entry and exit point, (as far as I know) to the left of the main doors and almost under cover, albeit under a leaking veranda. I had drawn this sketch earlier based on the promotional material adorning the theatre and managed to get it signed by all, either going in or coming out in  sig-friendly file. Even the late afternoon sun decided to shine on this successful summer’s saturday..momentarily.


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