Drawing: Karla Crome in Amadeus

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Twenty-eight year-old London-born actress Karla Crome is currently receiving excellent reviews for her portrayal of Mozart’s shrewd and sharp-witted wife Constanze in Michael Longhurst’s revival of Peter Shaffer’s AMADEUS  on the Olivier stage at the National Theatre. Writing in the Radio Times, Claire Webb said that Karla was “superb.” Her small screen credits include Sky Atlantic’s HIT & MISS and regular Jess on E4’s MISFITS. In 2012, Screen International named her as one of the UK Stars of Tomorrow.

Karla is also an accomplished playwright. IF CHLOE CAN was presented by the National Youth Theatre and the award-winning MUSH AND ME premiered at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe.

I found an intriguing piece of trivia in her Q&A on the Theatre’s website. Karla was asked about any pre-show rituals, and she replied she always does vocal warm-ups by singing ten nursery rhymes through a straw.  “It’s not a good look, but I swear by it.”

I left this sketch at the National, where she signed it for me, in clutch pencil, which is also unusual.

Drawing: Adam Gillen in Amadeus

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Born Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart in 1756, the most gifted musician in the history of classical music was multilingual and freely adapted his name to other languages. He preferred ‘Amadeus’, the latin version of his Greek middle name and so did Peter Schaffer for the title of his multi-award winning play and film about the bitter rivalry between court composer Salieri and the young upstart Mozart. The National Theatre’s latest revival directed by Michael Longhurst, is currently running on the Olivier stage starring Adam Gillen in the title role.

Best known as Liam, the son of the transvestite barman/woman Les(ley) in the ITV hit series BENIDORM, Adam’s stage performance has drawn rave reviews from the critics, including Paul Taylor from the Independent. “Adam Gillen delivers the most moving portrayal of Shaffer’s version of Mozart that I have seen since Michael Sheen played the role 20 years ago.” He described his portrayal as “Rik Mayall during a bout of Tourette’s.” I dropped this sketch of Amadeus Adam of at the Theatre’s stage door and it was returned signed and dedicated with a Happy New Year greeting.

Drawing: Lucian Msamati in Amadeus

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The Guardian’s influential critic Michael Billington called the National Theatre’s latest revival of Sir Peter Shaffer’s acclaimed play AMADEUS, “a stunning piece of theatre,” and said Lucian Msamati’s performance in the key role as the sensational villain Antonio Salieri, the established court composer obsessed with rival Mozart, with music and ultimately with God was “following in the footsteps of Paul Scofield. Ian McKellen, David Suchet and Rupert Everett, Msamati is an excellent Salieri.”

The British-Tanzanian actor and playwright is best known on the small screen for his role as Salladhor Saan in the HBO series GAME OF THRONES. His extensive stage career includes becoming the first black actor to play Iago in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of OTHELLO in the spring of 2015. Directed by Michael Longhurst, AMADEUS runs in repertory on the Olivier stage until February next year. I dropped this sketch into Lucian’s London agent and he signed and returned it with a complementary dedication.