Drawing: Jack Lowden in Ghosts

Autographed drawing of Jack Lowden in Ghosts at the Almeida Theatre and Trafalgar Studios on London's West End

Scottish actor Jack Lowden won the Olivier Award for his harrowing portrayal of an ailing and anguished artist in Richard Eyre’s London revival of Ibsen’s GHOSTS. Initially staged at the Almeida in the Autumn of 2013, the production transferred to the Trafalgar Studios in the West End, concluding in March 2014. Jack played Oswald Alving opposite Lesley Manville (who also won the Olivier) as Helen,his widowed mother. He has inherited syphilis from his lecherous late father and as his heath deteriorates, returns home from living as a painter in Paris, where falls for the maid Regina, who turns out to be his philandering father’s illegitimate daughter.

The subject matter of religion, general disease, incest and euthanasia, “caused an explosion of outrage and critical venom,” said the director, when it was first staged in 1882 in the US. In his five-star review for the Telegraph, Charles Spencer wrote, “Jack Lowden, big, shambolic and increasingly distraught as her bohemian artist son conveys the ugly, egotism of the chronically sick and the sheer terror of his terrible illness. The plays closing moments are almost too upsetting to watch.”

Jack is currently back on the London stage after enjoying his first major international onscreen success in the 2016 BBC miniseries WAR AND PEACE. He stars opposite Hayley Atwell in Shakespeare’s MEASURE FOR MEASURE at the Donmar Warehouse, Josie Rourke’s final production as artistic director for the intimate Covent Garden venue. In a unique gender-reversal, Jack and Hayley alternate the roles of Angelo and Isabella during the play. Jack signed my sketch when he arrived for last Saturday’s matinee.

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Drawing: Lesley Manville in Ghosts at Trafalgar Studios

Lesley Manville001

Director Richard Eyre’s acclaimed five star revival of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, starring Lesley Manville, transferred from London’s Almeida Theatre to Trafalgar Studio One this month and is scheduled to run early March 2014.

Richard, who was named Best Director at the recent Evening Standard Theatre Awards, adapted Ibsen’s text for the sold out production. Lesley was also nominated for Best Actress. Ghosts centres on Helene Alving (Lesley) who has spent her life suspended in an emotional void after the death of her cruel, but outwardly charming, husband. She is determined to escape the ghosts of her past by telling her son the truth about his father.

Lesley kindly signed my sketch at the Trafalgar Studios prior to Christmas.