Award-winning English actress Rosalie Craig is noted for her musical theatre performances, collecting an Evening Standard Award and an Olivier nomination for her role in the National Theatre’s A LIGHT PRINCESS in 2013.
However her last West End appearance as Caitlin Carney was far more dramatic, joining the final cast of Jez Butterworth’s acclaimed new play THE FERRYMAN, about a family living in rural Ireland during the Troubles in the 80’s, which completed its extended run on 19 May at the Gielgud Theatre. It’s a venue that Rosalie will get to know well by the end of the year, returning to the theatre with Patti LuPone in Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY in September.
I left this Caitlin sketch for Rosalie at the Gielgud, which she signed and returned this week.
The funniest and equally informative British cricket commentator David Lloyd, known as ‘Bumble’ has been the staple diet on the TV broadcast menu since he left the England coach’s job and joined the Sky commentary team in 1999.
His credentials are second to none, having been involved in all aspects of the game. A stellar career with his home county Lancashire, including a four year shift as captain and later as coach, nine tests for England, with ‘a splendidly fluent’ 214 not out in his second test against India, a top ODI score of 116 and later as the National coach after a brief stint as a first-class umpire is a summary of his involvement of the game he knows and loves.
The nickname ‘Bumble’ derives from his similarity to facial profile to Michael Bentine’s children’s TV characters THE BUMBLIES.
I caught up with him as he arrived for the third days play of the England-Pakistan Test match at Lords last Saturday. The home team were struggling. While he was signing my sketch I asked him if the English batsman would save the day he replied, “No show,” which proved correct.
Former World Number 1 tennis player Marat Safin returned to the court last year, making his Royal Albert Hall debut at the Champions Tennis, where he was beaten in the final by another former World Number 1, Juan Carlos Ferrero. The Russian, known for his powerful offensive play and strong, accurate serve won two Grand Slam titles in a career that began in 1997 until he retired in November 2009.
He beat defending champ Pete Sampras to win the 2000 US Open and local favourite Lleyton Hewitt on his way to the Australian Open title five years later. He was also a member of the successful Russian Davis Cup teams in 2002 and 2006. Marat achieved the Number 1 ranking in November 2000, for nine weeks. His sister Dinara Safina also achieved the same status, making them the only brother/sister tandem in tennis history to do so. In 2016 he becam the first Russian to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Marat was also known for his emotional outbursts and fiery temper. By his own admission he broke 1055 racquets during his career. I didn’t enquire how many sharpies he had destroyed and thankfully he was completely the opposite when I meet him at Royal Albert Hall and kindly signed my drawing.
In 2011 he became an elected politician and member of the State Duma, representing the United Russian Party, so I’m not sure if that environment would mellow ones temperament, but I guess you do practice more diplomacy.
With a great grandfather, grandfather and a father in the business, French chef extraordinaire Anne-Sophie Pic seemed destined to follow the family culinary career path. Growing up in the family three Michelin star restaurant, ‘Maison Pic’ in Valence in southwest France did not initially influence her to stay. She left to pursue management interests in Japan and the US, but, at the age of 23 returned to her ‘passion’. Three months later her father Jacques passed away. The restaurant had also lost its third Michelin star so Anne-Sophie took over the business to win back her ‘dad’s star’.
With no formal training in cooking she successfully regained Maison Pic’s three star status. In 2011 she was won the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef Award in the first year the category was established. Two years earlier she had opened her second restaurant, ‘Restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic in Lausanne, Switzerland which was immediately awarded two Michelin stars and in 2012 the Paris-based ‘ La Dame de Pic’ opened winning its first Michelin the following year.
In 2017 Anne-Sophie started ‘La Dame de Pic London’ in the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square, winning it’s first Michelin star this year. While no single dish is attributed to her signature style, she is known for her imaginative approach to combining complex scents and flavours.
I sent this drawing of Anne-Sophie to her London restaurant and it eventually came back signed with a lovely appreciation note, in French of course.
Hungarian-Canadian opera singer Krisztina Szabo made her Covent Garden debut last week in George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s latest collaboration, LESSONS IN LOVE AND VIOLENCE at the Royal Opera House. The mezzo-soprano, who has performed extensively in both North America and Europe, appeared as the Angel and Maria in Opera Philadelphia and the Holland Festival’s productions of George and Martin’s previous worldwide hit WRITTEN ON SKIN. After its brief London season, LESSONS will embark on a European tour, including another debut for Krisztina at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. Her style is described as “exemplifying today’s modern singer- vocally versatile, excellent stage prowess, painting vivid character portraits.” Krisztina signed my drawing at the Royal Opera House this week.
Dusseldorf-born professional golfer Sandra Gal began playing the sport at the age of six and competed in her first competitive round at 14. The 6′ tall 33 year-old German turned professional in 2008 after a stellar amateur career and qualified for the LPGA tour on the first attempt. In 2011 she won the Kia Classic and was a member of the successful European Solheim Cup team that same year. Sandra resides in Florida and annually hosts the Sandra Gal Charity Challenge benefiting Volunteers of America. Away from golf she models, paints and plays the violin.
I sent this sketch to Sandra during the 2017 British Women’s Golf Open at the Kingsbarnes Links in Fife, Scotland, which she signed and dedicated for me.
“Whirlwind Turner tribute leaves you breathless. Phyllida Lloyd’s musical is a heady celebration of triumphs over adversity, with an astonishing turn by Adrienne Warren,” wrote Michael Billington in his four-star review of TINA:THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, which opened at London’s Aldwych Theatre with its World Premiere last month.
Matt Wolf in the New York Times said, ” She sings with the feral, unchanged yearning that does the show’s namesake proud.”
The 31 year-old American actress, singer and dancer was hand picked by Tina herself to make her West End debut, although she is well-known Stateside. Adrienne first performed on Broadway in BRING IT ON at the St James Theatre in 2012 before earning a Tony nomination for… wait for it, SHUFFLE ALONG OR THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL SENSATION OF 1921 AND ALL THAT FOLLOWS at the Music Box Theatre.
Her screen appearances include the hit TV show ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Rarely off stage in TINA, her performance as the Motown legend in the new ‘jukebox juggernaut’ had the critics searching for superlatives, but Ann Treneman of the Times said “simply the best.” Adrienne signed my sketch at the Aldwych Theatre last week.
Earlier this year I was fortunate to see the London revival of David Mamet’s GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS at the Playhouse Theatre with an outstanding cast lead by Christian Slater. All of them signed sketches I did and have previously posted, except this one of Oliver Ryan… until now. Synonymous with the Royal Shakespeare Company since 2009, the Welsh actor has played many of the Bard’s memorable characters, including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Benvolio, Malcolm and Oswald on the UK and New York stages.
In David Mamet’s most famous and Pulitzer Prize winning play about testosterone-raddled real estate agents and the ‘excavation of the desperation that lies under the alpha male ego’, Oliver is Baylen, the police detective who spends most of the Second Act offstage in a back office interrogating the salesmen about their knowledge of a break-in. While he makes brief appearances on stage, his ‘presence’ increases the tension during the act as he seeks to find the culprit and make an arrest.
Oliver signed my sketch along with the rest of the cast at the stage door in January.
‘The Queen of Cakes’, Mary Berry is a British TV institution. The 81 year-old presenter and writer, who trained in France at the Le Cordon Bleu School sixty years ago, is also a reluctant ‘style icon’. As the Huffington Post said she is “loved for many reasons, her collection of brilliant jackets is just one of them.”
During Mary’s seven seasons on the BBC’s hit culinary show THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, viewers got to see the full range. For example, a stork-print bomber from Marks & Spencers sent social media into a spiral in 2014 and the jacket sold out before the show finished at 9 pm. Mary has written 75 cooking books, including the 2009 bestseller ‘Baking Bible’ and last year she won a British Television Award as Best TV Judge.
I sent this sketch to Mary, which she returned, signed and dedicated.