THE LIBERTINE, which follows the debauched exploits of the 2nd Earl of Rochester opened this week at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London after a limited run at the Theatre Royal Bath. Dominic Cooper plays the lead, besotted by the young actress Elizabeth Barry (Ophelia Lovibond) who ultimately rejects him. Consoling himself with
much whoring and drinking, he returns to his long-suffering, rusticated wife Elizabeth Malet played by Alice Bailey Johnson and dies.
Alice was recently seen in Mike Leigh’s MR TURNER, the biopic of eccentric British painter J M W Turner, and the popular TV series GRANTCHESTER. Her stage credits include OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR opposite Caroline Quentin in 2014 at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and NOISES OFF at the Old Vic, which I was lucky enough to see and Alice signed my cast sketch. I caught up with her again before Saturday’s matinee of THE LIBERTINE and she signed this Elizabeth drawing for me.
Ophelia Lovibond sounds a really posh name, but her background, growing up on a Shepherd’s Bush council estate in a single-parent family was anything but. In an interview with the Express this month she said, “It’s a mad name, but I think it was almost inevitable that I would end up in this profession and not become a librarian in Tunbridge Wells.”
She attended Saturday morning drama at 50p a session. Ophelia made her film debut as Bet in Roman Polanski’s OLIVER TWIST in 2005 and more recently played Carina in THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. TV viewers will know her as Sherlock’s new apprentice Kathryn ‘Kitty’ Winters in ELEMENTARY. This week she made her West End debut as the intrepid heroine and 17th Century actress Elizabeth Barry in THE LIBERTINE at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. This is a montage sketch of her in rehearsal and in the role, which she signed at the stage door before last Saturday’s matinee.
The brilliant British actress Kathryn Hunter was born Aikaterini Hadjipateras in New York to Greek parents fifty-nine years ago and raised in England where she trained at RADA.
The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer once described her as “…diminutive in stature and slightly lame, she has a deep, guttural voice, eyes like black olives and the most expressive of faces.”
In 1991 she won an Olivier Award for her portrayal of the millionaire in Friedrich Durrenmatt’s THE VISIT. When reviewing Samuel Beckett’s FRAGMENTS at London’s Young Vic in 2008, The Guardian’s Andrew Dickson said that Kathryn “crams into a few minutes of stage time more than most actors achieve in a career.”
Her ‘uncommon ability to shape shift’ has led her to play roles typically reserved for male actors. In 1997 she was the first British female actor to play KING LEAR professionally and four years later she lead an all-female cast in RICHARD III at Shakespeare’s Globe.
For most of September this year, the ‘master of transformation’ performed ten roles in an hour at the Young Vic, including the title character, Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie in the world premiere of THE EMPEROR in what The Sunday Times declared, “her shape-shifting brilliance could be the stage performance of the year.”
I managed to catch up with her after the final matinee, which is no mean feat in itself as her boundless energy is not restricted to the stage. She was moving quickly looking for a friend, but did stop momentarily to thank me for this drawing I did of her as the Plantagenet King and sign it.
For the past year Sir Kenneth Branagh and his theatre company’s creative home has been the Garrick Theatre on London’s Charing Cross Road. The ‘Plays At The Garrick’ debut season has now entered its final chapter with John Osborne’s THE ENTERTAINER, featuring Sir Ken in the lead role as the failing music-hall performer Archie Rice. He appeared in four of the six productions and co-directing three with Rob Ashford.
My montage sketch depicts him as Archie, hit-man Ralph in THE PAINKILLERS and Leontes, the King of Sicily in Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE. I caught up the the theatrical knight himself as he arrived at the stage door on Saturday morning, as usual, hours before the matinee and signed it for me. I asked if there would be another residency next year and he replied. “As Mr Schwarzenegger would say, we’ll be back.”
Yesterday I posted a caricature of English cricketer and prolific batsman Allan Lamb which he signed for me at the Basin Reserve in Wellington during the third test against New Zealand in February 1992. The captain of the England team on that very successful tour was the enigmatic Graham Gooch, the most prolific top-class run scorer of all time with 67,059 of them in a career that started as a 19 year-old in 1973 for county side Essex until he retired in 1997.
Journalist Matthew Engel described him as the most “uninhibited belter of the cricket ball” in his ESPN Cricinfo bio. He book-ended his test-playing career with matches against the old Ashes foe, Australia-the first in Birmingham in the summer of 1975, the last in Perth twenty years later. In that time he played 118 tests, scoring 8,900 runs notching up twenty centuries with a top score of 333 against India at Lords in 1990.
For good measure he belted a second innings 123 for a total of 456 in the match. In 125 ODI’s he scored 4,290 runs including eight 100’s. For three years in the 1980’s he was banned from playing for England for leading the first rebel tour to South Africa, so imagine what his international run tally could have been.
I drew this caricature of ‘Goochie’ in my signature 80’s cross-hatching style and he obliged with his signature in between ball-belting at the Basin.
One of the most dominant batsman during the 1980’s was England cricketer Allan Lamb. He was also one of my favourite players. Born in South Africa to British parents, Allan joined the county side Northamptonshire in order to play test cricket for England because his native country was banned from playing International cricket due to the apartheid regime.
He made his debut against India in 1982 becoming cap number 492 and ended his 79 test-playing career against Pakistan exactly 10 years later, almost to the day. In that decade he scored 14 centuries and 18 half-centuries, amassing 4,656 runs at an average of 36.09. He also played 122 ODI’s scoring over 4000 runs with four centuries and 26 half-centuries. His last test ton was his highest, scoring 142 against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington in February 1992, where he signed this caricature for me. During that time I used to draw caricatures with a black fine line pen and a technique that I have loosely labelled my ’80’s cross-hatch period’, combining minimal horizontal and vertical lines to define the white highlights and for the hair I rendered a much tighter, ‘frenzied’ hatch for textual contrast.
Unlike Allan, I had mixed results with the hatching, but this is an example one that I was not unhappy with.
British dancer and actress Rachel Muldoon made her West End debut in 2007 as part of the GREASE ensemble at the Piccadilly Theatre, before joining WICKED at the Apollo Victoria as the Witch’s Mother and then onto CHICAGO at the Cambridge Theatre in 2010. She initially trained at the Royal Ballet School before studying at the Laine Theatre Arts in Surrey. While performing the Announcer Go-To-Hell Kitty in CHICAGO, she also understudied the lead role Roxie Hart, which critic Mark Stenton saw and wrote, “Particular revaluation at CHICAGO this afternoon, Rachel Muldoon, understudying Roxie, gave one of the best performances I’ve ever seen in the role.”
For a limited run earlier this year, Rachel played Dahlia in the Drew Mc Onie’s reimagined dance thriller of Robert Louis Stevenson’s sinister classic JEKYLL AND HYDE at the Old Vic, where she signed this sketch.