Drawing: Barnaby Kay in Buried Child

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My final character sketch of the cast of Sam Shepard’s dark psychodrama BURIED CHILD is Barnaby Kay who plays Tilden, a ‘distracted man-child’ who has returned to his paternal home and a dysfunctional family to potter around outside digging up vegetables….which his parents performed by Ed Harris and Amy Madigan say don’t exist! The limited run at London’s Trafalgar Studios began last November and has been extended until next month. Barnaby’s career involves an extensive mix of TV, film and stage appearances. He spent the early years as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared in the 1998 Best Picture Oscar-winner SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. He signed this sketch for me at the stage door last December.

Drawing: Ashleigh Grey, Lizzy Connolly and Lauren Samuels in Vanities

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A revised version of  VANITIES, A NEW MUSICAL, based on Jack Heifner’s book and the 1976 play, debuted at the Trafalgar Studies in London for a limited, one-month run last September.

The original production premiered Off-Broadway in 2009. The West End show starred Ashleigh Grey, Lizzy Connolly and Lauren Samuels as Kathy, Joanne and Mary, three best friends growing up in Dallas,Texas at a time when image and style was more important than brains and ambition.

As the promotional slogan stated, “They’re Pretty, They’re Popular, They’re Clueless.” The London production featured new material not heard in New York.

I left this drawing of Ashleigh, Lizzy and Lauren at the Studios on the final day and when it didn’t come back, I thought I must have missed them. But, yesterday it arrived in the mail.

Drawing: Jeremy Irvine in Buried Child

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Six years ago British actor Jeremy Irvine was playing a tree in David Greig’s RSC production of DUNSINANE at Hampstead theatre, before he was plucked from ‘the forest of obscurity’ to play the lead role in Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaption of the epic WAR HORSE.

Jeremy was about to give up acting, finding work was difficult and a career change was on the cards. He had never been in a film before, but learnt to ride, gained 14lb of muscle and learnt the Devonshire accent for two months of auditions. The legendary director wanted a newcomer to play the role of Albert. “I saw hundreds of actors, but no one had the heart, the spirit and the communication skills that Jeremy had,” he said.

Late last year he returned to the London boards as Vince in Sam Shepard’s American gothic play BURIED CHILD at the Trafalgar Studios, alongside Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. I caught up with him in after a Saturday evening performance in December and he signed my drawing for me.

 

Drawing: An Inspector Calls at The Playhouse Theatre

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Celebrated British director Stephen Daldry’s award-laden West End and Broadway production of J B Priestley’s classic thriller AN INSPECTOR CALLS returned to the London stage this winter at the Playhouse Theatre. The story of the mysterious Inspector Goole’s interrogation of the each cast member and their responsibility for the death of Eva Smith has won 19 major awards.  Stephen’s 1992 National Theatre revival transferred to New York’s Royale Theatre two years later. Over 4 million people have seen it worldwide, including a UK Tour in 2011/12. The current production was initially for a limited season, but has now been extended. Trying to fit in a montage of seven cast members ( Inspector Goole twice) doesn’t leave much room for their names and production details, but I managed to squeeze Clive Francis, Liam Brennan, Barbara Marten, Matthew Douglas, Carmela Corbett, Hamish Riddle and the 88 year-old acting veteran Diana Payne-Myers into the rendered mix. they all signed it for me when i left it at the theatre last week.

Harriet Thorpe in Les Miserables and Wicked

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British actress Harriet Thorpe has played two of  the West End’s most memorable, musical, Madames –  Madame Thenardier in LES MISERABLES at the Palace Theatre in 1996 and Madame Morrible in WICKED at the Apollo Victoria in 2008, 2010 and again in 2013. She was recently performing ‘Sir’s’ long-suffering wife in THE DRESSER at the Duke of York’s where she signed my ‘Madames’ drawing.

Drawing: Kate O’Flynn in The Glass Menagerie

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British award-winning actress Kate O’Flynn returns to the London stage in John Tiffany’s  elegant production of Tennessee Williams’s 1944 autobiographical breakthrough play,  THE GLASS MENAGERIE at the Duke of York’s theatre this month. It transfers from a sell-out run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Kate plays Laura Wingfield, the frail, damaged daughter of  the bruised and brittle Southern matriarch Amanda, played by the formidable Broadway great Cherry Jones. Kate’s entrance through the middle of a sofa has been described as ‘unforgettable’ like the rest of her performance.

She signed my sketch on her way to the theatre for last Saturday’s matinee.

Drawing: Warwick Davis in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

warwick-davis

The 3′ 6″ STAR WARS and HARRY POTTER star Warwick Davis appeared as Prof in the Bristol Hippodrome festive season panto production of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS in 2015. Warwick came to prominence as the Ewok Wicket in STAR WARS EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI and continued in THE PHANTOM MENACE, in three roles – Weael, Wald and the walking version of Yoda. In 2015 he returned in the sequel THE FORCE AWAKENS. Warwick was also part of the HARRY POTTER series, as Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook. On the small screen he played a fictionalised version of himself in the sitcom LIFE’S TOO SHORT, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

I sent this sketch of Warwick as Prof to the Bristol Hippodrome in December 2015 and it came back last week, signed and dedicated!

Drawing: Cordelia Braithwaite

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English ballerina Cordelia Braithwaite has been a regular with Sir Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company productions since 2013. In a few short years, the 23 year-old has played both the Italian and Spanish Princesses and the Girlfriend in Sir Matthew’s production of SWAN LAKE before playing Mercedes, Frankie and Lana in THE CAR MAN, followed by Aurora and Hibernia in SLEEPING BEAUTY. She is currently sharing the lead role of gifted ballerina Vicky Page with Ashley Shaw in THE RED SHOES, which completed a sell-out, two-month run at Sadler’s Wells, where she signed my sketch before embarking on a national tour.

Drawing: Ashley Shaw in The Red Shoes

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Sir Matthew Bourne’s full-length ballet adaption of the 1948 film THE RED SHOES is currently touring the UK after a sold-out, two-month season at Sadler’s Wells in London  where it had it’s World Premiere over the Christmas period. It is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale about Vicky Page, a young dancer, who is forced to choose between fulfilling her dream and falling in love. Australian ballerina Ashley Shaw plays the lead role, fresh from featuring in Sir Matthew’s dazzling re-imaging of the ballet fairytale SLEEPING BEAUTY which has smashed box office records across the UK and US. She signed this sketch for me at Sadler’s last week.

Drawing: Cherry Jones in The Glass Menagerie

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I finally got to meet the Broadway icon and one of America’s greatest stage actresses Cherry Jones on Saturday at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London where the two-time Tony winner makes her West End debut in Tennessee William’s 1944 five-character memory play, THE GLASS MENAGERIE.

Cherry reprises her 2013 Broadway role as the faded Southern belle Amanda Wingfield  in the John Tiffany production which also headlined at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where critics described her performance as ‘sensational’.

“For a woman my age this part is our HAMLET,” said the sixty year-old in a recent interview with WhatsOnStage. She also said that she had been trying to get to Britain all her adult life, “Now I’m in heaven and I want to stay.” TV viewers will know her for her Emmy Award winning role as the US President Allison Taylor in the Fox series 24.

Cherry was having a quick break from an afternoon run-trough on Saturday before the evening performance and I happened to be there at the right time. She was very warm and gracious and was more the happy signed my sketch.