The Tony-nominated Broadway production of Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson ended its three-month West End run at London’s Theatre Royal, Haymarket on Saturday.
Based on the real life of the severely deformed Joseph Merrick (Bradley), it tells the story of renowned physician Frederick Treves ( Alessandro) who rescues him from a travelling freak show to live his short life in the safe and secure environs of a London hospital. While there he becomes friends with the beautiful actress Mrs kendal (Patricia) who is deeply touched by his pure and genuine soul.
I had drawn individual sketches of all three leads, which they signed for me in the opening week. I also did this composite sketch of them, which I wasn’t going to bother getting signed…but at the last minute, well the final day, I thought, why not? There are essentially three chances to catch the cast on a Saturday-going in,coming out after the matinee, coming out after the evening performance. Technically four, if you count them returning from the matinee exit. Right, that sorted, I aimed for after the matinee. Only Alessandro appeared and, as usual was extremely charming and complimentary about the drawing and signed. I asked him what he was doing next, he said a film with Robert De Niro…”A bit of a come down then?,” I quipped…a questionable attempt at humour. He laughed! Such a polite man. The very efficient stage manager let the crowd know that Bradley and Patricia would not be coming out, so that saved waiting time. Since I had one, I was now obliged to get the other two to complete the task. When I returned after the final performance, the barriers were packed, six deep, which made that task a little more tricky. My many years of stalking experience..I stop short of calling it prowess..enabled me to eventually secure a spot three deep, amongst a number of gushing Bradleybabes, (sorry, I’m not familiar with what a collective of his adoring female public are called ) ready to get selfies…not siggys. The man himself eventually appeared and as he had done for the entire run ,”did the line’. While the gazillion selfies were being taken he spotted my sketch which I was trying to hold in a strategic position and not get in the way of anyone’s photograph and reached over for it. I asked him to dedicate it ‘To Mark” and he said “got it…thanks”. After he left the throng subsided, so it was much easier to get Patricia, who said she had loved her time in London..oh and the drawing.