Drawing: Jasper Britton as Charles II in The Libertine

jasper-britton

I read that versatile British actor Jasper Britton spent a number of years as an assistant stage manager and sound operator until in 1989 he marched into Jonathan Miller’s Old Vic office and threatened to stay there unless he as given an audition for KING LEAR. His subsequent King of France to Eric Porter’s Lear was the start of a distinguished stage career, punctuated by playing monarchs at The National and under Mark Rylance’s tenure at Shakespeare’s Globe. His latest is Charles II in THE LIBERTINE at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, captured here in majestic 4B.

The ignoble British sovereign spent many an hour in the company of the notorious 17th century rake and poet John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester and the many… shall we politely say, fallen daughters of Eve. He is one of the only characters in the play to stand up to Rochester and grants him a valuable commission with the proviso, ”Don’t fuck it up.” Paul Taylor wrote in the Independent, “The best performance of the evening comes from Jasper Britton who brilliantly captures the posturing, overripe Charles II’s unnerving swings between chumminess and assertion.”

Jasper’s mode of transport to the theatre is a motorbike. Don’t ask me the make or model, but it’s big and fast. Clad in resplendent grey leathers, befitting royalty he arrived  for Saturday’s matinee on the said cycle, popped into the stage door to sign in and sort out the removal of his garb, then sauntered back out to sign this drawing.

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