Top Hollywood publicist, manager and producer Neil Koenigsberg’s debut play, the bittersweet comedy drama OFF THE KINGS ROAD transferred to London’s Jermyn Street Theatre this month after successful runs in New York and Los Angeles. Michael Brandon plays Matt Browne, a recent widower, who takes a week’s respite in his favourite city, London, in a small hotel off the King’s Road. His stay turns into a voyage of self-discovery with a number of unplanned encounters, including a Russian prostitute and her jealous boyfriend. WestEnd Wilma described it as ‘an intelligent little gem.’
A unique part of the production is the e-appearance of Oscar winner Jeff Bridges as Matt’s LA-based psychologist Dr Kozlowski via Skype in three short segments.
Cheri Lunghi makes a delightful cameo as the nosey hotel resident and cat lover Ellen.
I left this sketch of Michael and Cheri at the theatre on the final day and it came back today signed and dedicated.
British actress Cherie Lunghi is currently appearing in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End. In one of her biographical blurbs, Cherie was described as a ‘leading ingénue’ at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the late 70s. An ingénue is a stock character, typically beautiful, gentle, sweet, virginal and often naive – the usual foil to a vamp or a femme fatale. Her roles at the RSC included Perdita, Cordelia and Viola.
She then left to play Guinevere (probably more of a vamp) in John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981) and pursue a film and TV career.
At the Pinter she plays the conventional Victorian woman, Gwendolen Fairfax – Lady Bracknell’s sophisticated, intellectual, cosmopolitan and utterly pretentious daughter who is in love with Wilde’s protagonist, Jack, whom she knows as Earnest. It’s a name she is fixated upon and will not marry a man without that moniker that “inspires absolute confidence”. Ingénue or vamp? Or maybe a mixture of both. Either way, in real life she was most fun to meet and chatted with a handful of us at the stage door before Saturday’s matinée. I told her that sketching was one of my vices, and she said “it’s a vice you’re good at”.