Drawing: Ciaran Hinds and Sinead Cusack in Juno and Paycock at The National Theatre

Juno and the Paycock

Sean O’Casey’s gutting tragicomedy Juno and The Paycock is one of the most highly regarded and often performed plays in Ireland. First staged in Dublin at the Abbey Theatre in 1924 and set in that city during the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s, it is the second of the ‘Dublin Trilogy’ between The Shadow of a Gunman (1923) and The Plough and the Stars (1926).

London’s National Theatre in association with the Abbey Theatre staged the revival on the Lyttelton Stage in late 2011 with Ciarán Hinds and Sinéad Cusack in the lead roles as Captain Jack Boyle and Juno Boyle respectively.

“Searing, sobering, devastating and beautiful,” said the Sunday Independent. Both Ciarán and Sinéad signed my sketch in February 2012 at the Theatre and for a brief moment my stage door name became Martin…

Drawing: Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess in Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre

Lover Never Dies

Love Never Dies – the sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s long running musical The Phantom of the Opera opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End on 9 March 2010. Ramin Karimloo played the title role with Sierra Boggess as Christine. They coined the term ‘Rierra’. Ramin was the Phantom in the original West End production and the show’s 21st anniversary Phantom in 2007.

Sierra was cast in the Las Vegas production of Phantom in the role of Christien Daaé at the Venetian Resort in 2006. Both Ramin and Sierra were nominated for Olivier Awards, and the production received seven nominations. They signed by sketch after the world premiere at the Adelphi Theatre stage door in pouring rain on 9 March 2010.

Drawing: Ian Redford and Trudie Styler in A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson

styler and redford

Arguably “the most distinguished man of letters in English history” was Dr Samuel Johnson, poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, lexicographer and the man who gave us the English dictionary.

After nine years work, Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755. It was considered on of the greatest single achievements of scholarship and until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later was the pre-eminent British dictionary.

He is the subject of A Dish of Tea With Dr Johnson, a sellout at the Edinburgh Festival and a hit on tour.

Ian Redford’s moving central performance in the title role was “detailed and touching”. Johnston “was a man ravaged by melancholy and anxieties but capable of articulate speeches” and “darts of wit”.

Joining Ian as the high society hostess and Johnson’s final unrequited love, Mrs Thrale, was Trudie Styler. She was “dug out of retirement by director Max Stafford-Clark to return to the West End with a part that “instantly won her over… she got to come on stage in an 18th century costume and provide the fireworks fo the last 20 minutes.

Both Ian and Trudie signed my sketch in the lobby of London’s Arts Theatre, prior to the evening performance on 12 September 2011.