In 1995 actor Mark Lockyer had a very public meltdown while playing Mercutio in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of ROMEO AND JULIET in Stratford. His erratic behaviour including a fumbled Queen Mab speech and seizing a saxophone from a musician mid-performance and giving a Courtney Pine impersonation and being furious afterwards when an enraged stage manager thought it was Ackerman Bilk was a result of ‘meeting the devil on the banks of the Avon.’
His undiagnosed bipolar disorder lead to imprisonment, arson and eventually treatment in a mental hospital. Now twenty years later, his gripping solo show LIVING WITH THE LIGHTS ON is a ‘brutally funny account of mental illness’.
“Lockyer has one hell of a story and he tells it rivetingly well,” wrote Dominic Maxwell in The Times. I meet Mark after his matinee performance last Friday at London’s Young Vic Theatre and he signed my drawing with a solitary ‘M’, saying “that’s how I sign my name,” which I replied was perfectly fine.
The Bronx-born American stand up comedian, writer and television producer Susan ‘Susie’ Essman was back by popular demand at London’s Soho Theatre following her smash hit sell out run in 2013.
She is no shrinking violet and is liberal with the vernacular invectives on stage and screen. The LA Times said Susie is “The most lyrical purveyor of profanity on television. She makes the entire cast of The Sopranos look like rank amateurs. It is really a gift.”
Susie is best known for her role as the Sassy Susie Green on the groundbreaking critically acclaimed HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm and the character’s hilarious bouts of withering sarcasm and uninhibited insults, including her catchphrase, “you fat f*ck!”
British critic Dominic Cavendish said Susie is “funny, frank and fearless”. She described Downton Abbey as “a piece of sh*t”.
It was great to meet Susie and her husband Jim after the first of her three night gigs at the Soho Theatre where she signed this sketch. I am pleased to say that in person she is the exact opposite of her TV namesake and stand up persona.
Audrey Tautou is one of my favourite French actresses (and there are many!) in one of my favourite French films Amelie. I did this sketch in 2009 and forgot about it. In 2011 it surfaced in an annual reshuffle of my ‘filing system’. So, I sent it to her Paris agent to sign and voila! She has also added a little French inscription.