The 2019 Laurence Olivier Awards – a selection of six winners

The 2019 Laurence Olivier Awards, recognising excellence in London theatre was held last Sunday at the Royal Albert Hall. Here’s a 4B pencil tribute to a selection of six winners who all signed their respective sketches over the past year.

Sharon D. Clarke, Best Actress in a Musical for her title role in CAROLINE, OR CHANGE at the Playhouse Theatre, signed in person at the theatre last December.

Autographed drawing of Sharon D Clarke in Caroline, Or Change at the Playhouse Theatre on London's West End

Patti LuPone, Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her portrayal of Joanne in Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY at the Gielgud Theatre, signed at the stage door in October last year.

Autographed drawing of actress Patti LuPone

Patsy Ferran, Best Actress for SUMMER AND SMOKE, signed at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 18 December 2018, following a West End transfer after a sold-out run at the Almeida Theatre.

Autographed drawing of Patsy Ferran and Matthew Needham in Summer and Smoke at the Duke of York's Theatre on London's West End

Kyle Soller, Best Actor for his role as Eric Glass in the Young Vic’s two-part epic, THE INHERITANCE at the Noel Coward Theatre, signed at the stage door in January this year.

Autographed drawing of Kyle SOller and Andrew Burnap in The Inheritance at the Noel Coward Theatre on London's West End

Kobna Holbrook-Smith, Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Ike Turner, in TINA,THE MUSICAL, signed at the Aldwych Theatre’s stage door late last year.

Autographed drawing of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith in Tina The Musical at the Aldwych Theatre on London's West End

Chris Walley, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for playing the teenager Davey in THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE, also signed at the Noel Coward stage door last summer.

Autographed drawing of Chris Walley in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre on London's West End


Drawing: Adrienne Warren in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Autographed drawing of Adrienne Warren in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre on London's West End

“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.

Drawing: Klodi Dabkiewicz in La Soirée

Autographed drawing of Klodi Dabkiewicz in La Soiree at the Aldwych Theatre on London's West End

Fifteen years after its Edinburgh Fringe beginning as LA CLIQUE, the Olivier Award-winning Australian-born variety show LA SOIRÉE has reached the West End. The traditional Aldwych Theatre has been transformed into an intimate cabaret club, described as a ‘head-spinning cocktail of sauce, silliness and spectacle – the thrill of the risqué upping that of the risky.’

One of the acts is Polish-born acrobat and circus artist Klodi Dabkiewicz. A former champion rhythmic gymnast who has performed around the globe, including Franco Dragone’s famous ‘House of Dancing Water’ in Macau, China. She is part of Syndicate Circus and a regular on the UK Cabaret circuit. Along with Leon Fagbemi they perform a steamy and seductive hand-to-hand, with ‘mind-bending flexibility.’ Klodi signed this sketch for me last week at the theatre.

Sketch: Lorna Want and Ian McIntosh in Beautiful

Lorna Want and Ian McIntosh in Beautiful

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the untold story of the legendary singer’s journey from school girl to superstar, opened at London’s Aldwych Theatre earlier this year.

It was nominated for eight Olivier Awards, winning two at last month’s ceremony for Katie Brayben in the title role and Lorna Want as Cynthia Weil, who along with her partner Barry Mann became Carole King’s songwriting peers and best friends. Also included in the Olivier nominations was Ian McIntosh’s performance as Mann in the Best Supporting Role in a Musical catagory. The show includes some of their songs, such as Up On The Roof and On Broadway.

I left this drawing of  Lorna and Ian in their respective roles at the theatre and it came back, signed and dedicated. Beautiful!

Sketch: Glynis Barber in Beautiful, Aldwych Theatre

Glynis Barber

British actress Glynis Barber, best known for her small screen roles in hit eighties come series Dempsey and Makepeace, Blake’s 7, Eastenders and Emerdale. She’s currently on the West End stage playing Genie Klein (Carole King’s Mum) in the London production of the Broadway hit Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre.

Carole’s album Tapestry has sold more than 25 million copies and the musical focuses on her route to success between the ages of 16 and 29, as part of the hit songwriting team with husband Gerry Goffin.

Glynis is a lifelong fan of Carole King. She doesn’t sing, but loves the fact that she will get to hear Carole King music all year. Initially booking till 13 June, the show has extended its run due to popular demand until February next year. It has also just been nominated for 8 Olivier Awards.

Drawing: Ben Miles, Nathaniel Parker, Lydia Leonard and Paul Jesson in Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies

Wolf Hall Bring Up The Bodies

After selling out its RSC premiere at Stratford, acclaimed productions of Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies made their London transfer to the Aldwych Theatre in May. Both plays are running in repertory until September.

The double bill, adapted by dramatist Mike Poulton and directed by Jeremy Herrin, tell the compelling story of the political rise to power of Thomas Cromwell, in the court of Henry VIII. He was Britain’s original working class hero, according to the author.

The adaptions compress 1,246 pages of print into five and a half hours of stage time with the complex interactions of 70 characters, seven of whom are annoyingly called Thomas.

Hilary won the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Wolf Hall, and repeated the success with Bring Up The Bodies in 2012. They are the first two parts of Hilary’s projected trilogy of Henry’s fixer – the third, The Mirror and the Light is currently being written “at haste”, as you read this.

Ben Miles plays Cromwell, Lydia Leonard is Anne Boleyn, Nathaniel Parker as Henry VIII and Paul Jesson as Cardinal Wolsey.

Mark Lawson in The Guardian says: “English ecclesiastical reform was driven by the King’s soul as well as his penis… Henry’s succession needs gave an opening to Protestant plotters in his court.”

Drawing: Alexander Hanson, Charlotte Spencer and Charlotte Blackledge in Stephen Ward – The Musical

Stephen Ward

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Christopher Hampton and Don Black, and directed by Richard Eyre, Stephen Ward centres on the title character’s involvement with the young showgirl Christine Keeler that lead to one of the biggest scandals and most famous trials of the 20th century.

On the 50th anniversary, it deals with Ward as the ‘victim’ who was set up as a scapegoat when the scandal put the skids under Macmillan’s government in 1963. The Telegraph’s critic Charles Spencer suggests, “A show that may well play a part in the current campaign to quash the society osteopath’s trumped up conviction for living on immoral earnings.”

Alexander Hanson plays the charming and suave well connected bachelor Stephen Ward. Charlotte Spencer is the glamorous Keeler, and Charlotte Blackledge is her bubbly friend Mandy Rice-Davies.

The London wind and rain kindly subsided to allow the three leads to sign my sketch at the uncovered Aldwych stage door after last night’s performance.