Tara Cressida Frances “Finty” Williams always seemed destined to have an acting career with both parents – Dame Judi Dench and Michael Williams – well established in the business. In a Telegraph interview Dame Judi said they did try and dissuade Finty from following them, but “Finty is very much her own woman”.
She has appeared on screen with her mother a number of times, including Mrs Brown (1997), The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) and the award winning TV series Cranford (2007).
I first met Finty at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London when she featured in Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce in October 2009. She played Kate, who WhatsOnStage described as, “a ball of exuberant energy,” which this sketch is based on. Dame Judi and Finty joined an all star cast of 50 in Donmar Warehouse’s The Vote this month. Set in a fictional London polling station during the final ninety minutes before the polls close in this year’s general election, the final performance on the actual polling Day (7 May ) was televised live on More4.
They play, appropriately, mother and daughter who stroll on stage at 9.42pm and remain there for the final 18 minutes until curtain call. Even though things go a little hectic after the election night show, Flinty stopped to sign my sketch for me.
Kabale und Liebe, Love and Intrigue, Love and Politics or simply Luise Miller, are all titles for the same play written by the German dramatist Friedrich Schiller in 1784.
The Donmar Warehouse in London chose Luise Miller in June and July 2011, directed by Michael Grandage, working with translator Mike Poulton on a more contemporary version of this landmark bourgeois tragedy.
In the title role was East Londoner Felicity Jones, who turned down a major film role to do the play. She plays the wholesome daughter of a modest violinist in a tale of “precarious liaisons, shadowy desires, backroom skulduggery and the iniquities of class snobbery.” It’s Schiller’s answer to Romeo & Juliet with melodramatic tendencies.
Having just won the special jury prize at the Sundance Festival for Like Crazy, she was in great demand for more film roles. “I want to keep a balance,” she said, “West End won’t lose me to the movies.”
Her ‘mother’ was played by Finty Williams, described by one review as “a sweet natured blabbermouth”. I had drawn a sketch of the both of them with a fine black biro. Whilst waiting outside the Donmar on a balmy summer’s evening for the cast to emerge (which took a bit longer because I think the were doing a Q+A session with the audience) I drew a quick pencil sketch of Felicity with my 2B – which in the balminess became a softer 4B! This was based on a publicity photo pinned to the Donmar Wall.