Drawing: Greta Scacchi in The Entertainer

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This is the third drawing that Greta Scacchi has signed for me. The first two were graphed when she starred in BETTE AND JOAN alongside Anita Dobson at the Arts Theatre in 2011. The Emmy-winner has returned to the West End in the last play of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s productions at the Garrick. John Osbourne’s venomous 1957 play THE ENTERTAINER. Greta plays Phoebe, the sad wife of Sir Kenneth’s  clapped-out Vaudevillian Archie Price. The Independent’s Paul Taylor wrote in his four-star review, “Greta Scacchi vividly captures the touchiness and squally mood-swings of Archie’s weary, put-upon working class wife.” Greta was running a little late for Saturday’s matinee, but graciously stopped to sign for three of us waiting at the stage door, including this sketch of her as Phoebe and a younger portrait, which I identified when she asked me who the second person was? She smiled and signed.

Drawing: Harriet Thorpe in The Dresser

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British actress Harriet Thorpe’s most recognisable TV roles are receptionist Carole in THE BRITTAS EMPIRE and Patsy’s eccentric chum Fleur in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, a role she revised in the film adaption this year. She’s also appeared in a few films, including CALENDAR GIRLS and actually played the elderly witch Wakanda in a deleted scene from HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1. On stage Harriet had several seasons with the National Theatre and has worked extensively in the West End including Madame Thenardier in LES MISERABLES. She has returned to the London boards in the role of Sir’s faithful wife, ‘Her Ladyship’ in the revival of Ron Harwood’s THE DRESSER at the Duke of York’s, where I meet Harriet after the evening performance last Saturday and she signed my drawing.

Drawing: Noma Dumezweni and Paul Thornley in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2

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Olivier Award winner Noma Dumezweni portrays the adult Hermione Granger-Weasley, married to Ron Weasley, played by Paul Thornley in the original West End run of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS 1 AND 2, which opened in June this year at the Palace Theatre. In the eighth instalment of JK Rowling’s HARRY POTTER phenomenon, set 19 years after THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, Hermione is now the Minister of Magic and Ron runs Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Their daughter Rose is about to follow in their footsteps and attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Both Noma and Paul had kindly signed a previous sketch of the plays leads. Since then I have been a periodic ‘visitor’ to the stage door with a pile of renderings including this one of them together in their respective roles, which they both happily signed.

Drawing: Selina Cadell in The Dresser

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Selina Cadell has, as they say a ‘face that is tantalisingly familiar’. That is because the well known English actress has appeared on stage and the small screen for over thirty years. Her most recognisable role is probably Mrs Tishell, the overwrought pharmacist in a neck brace in DOC MARTIN.  But many will recall her familiar face in JEEVES AND WOOSTER, THE CATHERINE TATE SHOW, FATHER BROWN and VICTORIA WOOD among a whole host of others. She played the vanishing lady herself, Miss Froy in the BBC TV film THE LADY VANISHED. In theatre Selina has an equally long list of appearances, including the Sam Mendes’ acclaimed Broadway production of Anton Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD and her role as  Maria in TWELFTH NIGHT for the Donmar Warehouse in both London and New York.

She has returned to the West End as the pragmatic and cynical but highly efficient stage manager Madge in Ron Harwood’s classic 1980 play THE DRESSER at the Duke of York’s Theatre. When I asked her to sign this drawing  in the role she said, “How very sweet” and did so.

Drawing: Alicia Vikander

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Swedish actress Alicia Vikander began her performing career in stage productions in her home town with the Gothenburg Opera, before training as a dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm and then the School of American Ballet in New York. After some TV and short film work in Sweden, Alicia’s feature film debut was PURE in 2010 and she gained widespread recognition two years later as Princess Ekaterina ‘Kitty’ Alexandrovna Scherbatskaya in Joe Wright’s adaption of ANNA KARENINA. She followed that up as Vera Brittain in TESTAMENT OF YOUTH and a humanoid robot in EX MACHINA, which earned her BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. This year she won the Best Supporting Actress SAG and Academy Awards for her role as artist Gerda Wegener in THE DANISH GIRL.

Alicia signed my portrait sketch for me at the UK premiere of her latest film, THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS at the Curzon Mayfair cinema in London last week.

Drawing: Lydia Piechowiak – Miss Giddy Heights

Lydia Piechowiak Drawing

English actor and burlesque artist Lydia Piechowiak is part of the cool cast of the Restoration romp THE LIBERTINE at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Lydia, whose surname is from her Polish ancestry is also known by her stage name, the intoxicating ‘Miss Giddy Heights.’

TimeOut calls her “The international burlesque Dynamo… shimmering from elegant to debauched at the drop of a feather fan,” ideal credentials for her current ensemble West End role. After completing a degree in TV, Film and Theatre from the University of Bristol Lydia studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York before establishing her own theatre company Open Door Productions.

Recently seen in the film BRIDGET JONES’ BABY, Lydia also received rave reviews from theatre critics as the over-the-top refugee maid Mitizi in the UK tour of Agatha Christie’s A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED earlier this year. I intercepted her exit from an evening LIBERTINE performance last week to get this drawing signed.

Drawing: Rachel Tucker in Wicked

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Northern Irish singer Rachel Tucker has returned to the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London to play Elphaba in WICKED-a role she knows well, having played it longer than anyone else in the production’s history. Rachel replaced Alexia Khadine in March 2010 and in June 2012 she succeeded Kerry Ellis as the longest running performer to play the green witch. She left the show in October of that year for maternity leave after over 900 performances. In September 2015 Rachel reprised the role on Broadway, replacing Caroline Bowman at the Gershwin Theatre until 30 July this year. In early September she returned to the London production in time for its 10th Anniversary, replacing Emma Hatton where she signed my sketch.

Drawing: Matthew Lewis and Ruta Gedmintas in Unfaithful

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The penultimate play this season at  London’s ‘hippist, shabby, chic theatre space’ Found 111 was Owen McCafferty’s latest blackly comic UNFAITHFUL. The  four-handler, 75 minute piece is a exploration of infidelity and its effects on a marriage. “When paths cross, a spark is ignited that reveals the hidden truths of two tangled relationships, the unspoken desires, the piercing regrets and the postponed conversations.” One of the couple is Peter and Tara played by Matthew Lewis and Ruta Gedmintas.

Matthew is probably best known as Neville Longbottom, one of the ‘Big Seven’ in the HARRY POTTER film franchise and latterly as Jamie Bradley in THE SYNDICATE AND Ruta’s TV CV includes THE STAIN, SPOOKS, CODE9, THE BORGIAS and THE TUDORS. I meet both at the trendy pop-up Charing Cross theatre during the six-week run of UNFAITHFUL and they signed this drawing for me.

Drawing: Lea Seydoux

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Lea Helene Seydoux-Fornier de Clansonne thankfully condensed her name to Lea Seydoux, which makes it easier and quicker to sign, as was the case last week when the heavily pregnant French actress attended the screening of Xavier Dolan’s IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD at the 60th  BFI London Film Festival. The film won the Grand Prix and Jury prizes at Cannes this year and will be Canada’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at next year’s Academy Awards.

Lea began her career in French cinema, winning the Trouphee Chopard Award given to promising actors at Cannes and receiving one of her many Cesar noms for the 2008 film THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.  Her international break-out role was Emma in the coming-of-age romantic drama  BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR, which won the Palm d’Or. Hollywood blockbusters followed including her role as  Dr Madeleine Swan the ‘main amour’ in the 24th Bond film SPECTRE Peter Bradshaw in his Guardian review described her performance as ‘stylishly played with just the right amount of sullen sensuality.”
It was great to get her to graph my sketch, albeit with a purple sharpie!