Drawing: Sheridan Smith in Flare Path at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Sheridan Smith Flare Path

In 2011 Trevor Nunn directed a West End revival of Terrance Rattigan’s Flare Path at the Theatre Royal Haymarket as part of the playwright’s centenary year celebrations.

The story involves a love triangle between a pilot, his actress wife and a famous film star set in a hotel near an RAF Bomber Command airbase during WWII.

Universally acclaimed by the critics as a superb production, the were equally in agreement that Sheridan Smith stole the show. A major subplot involves her character Doris, a former barmaid who is married to and totally devoted to a Polish Count flying with the RAF.

She has the rare claim of winning Olivier Awards two years running followed by a BAFTA. Her second Olivier won for Flare Path. Sheridan is always generous with her time at the stage door where she signed this black biro sketch.

Drawing: James Purefoy and Sienna Miller in Flare Path

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Sir Trevor Nunn’s emotionally resonant revival of Terrance Rattigan’s wartime drama FLARE PATH played the Theatre Royal Haymarket during the spring of 2011. It was part of the author’s centenary tribute. Written in 1941 and staged a year later,the play is based on his own experiences as a tail-gunner in the RAF coastal command.  It is a love triangle,set in the lounge of a Lincolnshire hotel where bomber pilots,stationed at the nearby airbase stay with conjugal guests. Sienna Miller returned to the West End to play Patricia Graham, an actress torn between her pilot husband,Teddy (Harry Haddon-Paton) and Peter Kyle, (James Purefoy) her movie star lover. The production was a huge success and was extended due to popular demand. Critics called it “richly entertaining and beautifully judged revival of this theatrical rarity”…”a deeply moving portrayal of people at war”, said The Guardian’s Michael Billington. I managed to manoeuvre my way around the predatory  packs of paps one April evening to ask Sienna to sign my sketch at the stage door. It was more a matter of ‘fright flare’ from all the flash bulbs going off! In fact, the illumination was so intense,she had to wait in between flashes to see the drawing which washed out under the brightness. James was a little easier. He and his dog emerged later to a much more sedate reception and happily signed.

Drawing: Sienna Miller and Terrance Rattigan in Flare Path

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Sienna Miller signed my Comic Relief sketch at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in April 2011 when she was performing in Terrance Rattigan’s wartime play Flare Path.