Drawing: Eve Best, Anne Reid and Eleanor Bron in A Woman Of No Importance

Autographed drawing of Eve Best, Anne Reid and Eleanor Bron in A Woman of No Importance at the Vaudeville Theatre on London's West End

Dominic Dromgoole’s ‘compassionate and emotionally engaging’ production of A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE launched a year-long season of Oscar Wilde at London’s Vaudeville Theatre late last year.

The outstanding cast was lead by Eve Best, Anne Reid and Eleanor Bron, who played Mrs Arbuthnot and Ladies Hunstanton and Pontefract respectively. The Irish playwright’s 1983 society play examines the hypocrisy of Victorian society in which woman are shamed and stigmatised for their sexual conduct and men do as they please.

I met Eve, Anne and Eleanor at the stage door, where they signed this montage, arriving for the Saturday matinee a week before the production completed its run on 30 December.

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Drawing: Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelly Reilly in Old Times

Old Times

Packages arriving, addressed in my handwriting always exit me, especially in the plural. Yesterday it was the singular, but I was excited none-the-less.  It had a US stamp, meaning one of my drawings sent to Broadway had come back….hopefully signed. Indeed it was and a real doozy-my Old Times sketch signs by all three British cast members, Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelly Reilly. I’m not sure of the etymology of ‘doozy’. I think it can be ‘good’ and ‘bad’. This sums up autograph collecting via the mail. Somedays are great and somedays, not so great. The main meaning is it’s ‘big’ and ‘memorable.’

The Harold Pinter three-hander about the battle for sexual dominance is having it’s Broadway revival at the American Airlines Theatre, directed by fellow Brit and Tony-winner Douglas Hodge to both critical and commercial acclaim. Clive and Kelly were making their debuts on ‘The Great White Way’ and now, also on my theatre sketches. I have had the privilege of seeing Eve on the London stage and  she has signed for me, so the Olivier Award-winner was my point of contact. Like her performances her thoughtfulness is top drawer.

Drawing: Eve Best and Clive Wood in Antony and Cleopatra at Shakespeare’s Globe

Antony and Cleopatra

The season of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is into its final week at the Globe in London, with Olivier award-winning actress Eve Best and RSC veteran Clive Wood in the title roles.

It’s Shakespeare’s greatest exploration of the conflicting claims of sex and power, but its contradictory features make it difficult to put into a single genre. It can be classified as a history play, a tragedy, comedy and a romance! Cleopatra is the Bar’s most complex female role.

The Guardian’s Michael Billington summed up the performance of the two leads “restlessly sensual, Best is excellent at capturing Cleopatra’s mercurial contradictions… Wood plays Antony as an old ruffian who is seduced by the Alexandrian fleshpots… more at ease with the ragged world of male soldiery… is faintly apprehensive of the quixotic, mood-changing queen.”

Paul Taylor in The Independent reinforces this, “Best is a supreme mistress at working the Globe space, wonderfully unforced audience rapport and brings a terrific impatient energy to Cleopatra’s capricious changes. She even flirts with the groundlings (standing audience members) planting a kiss on one of them. Clive Wood is a natural casting as Antony – a sexy ageing lion torn between two worlds, who vacillates between duty and pleasure.”

Drawing: Eve Best and Charles Edwards in Much Ado About Nothing at The Globe

Best:Edwards

Eve Best and Charles Edwards played the perfect Beatrice and Benedick in Shakespeare’s 1599 comedic play Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe in mid 2011, signing my quick biro sketch with a thin red fineliner

Drawing: Eve Best in The Duchess Of Malfi at The Old Vic

eve best

Eve Best is one of the most compelling British stage actors of her generation, with an unforgettable run of performances over the past decade and a half, including an Olivier Award for Hedda Gabler.

Earlier this year, after a stint in the long running American TV comedy Nurse Jackie, she returned to the London stage – to be more precise, Shakespeare’s Globe – for her directorial debut, with the “Scottish Play”.

Eve signed my sketch in June 2012 at the Old Vic Theatre while she was performing in The Duchess of Malfi