Drawing: Ian Rickson and Jez Butterworth

Ian Rickson Jez Butterworth

Playwright Jez Butterworth and director Ian Rickson have formed a formidable team and are considered one of contemporary British theatre’s great collaborators. Jez’s debut play, Mojo, the black gangster comedy set in a Soho nightclub in the 1950s, premiered at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1995, directed by Ian Rickson who became the resident artistic director from 1998 – 2006, replacing Stephen Daldry.

They have been friends and collaborators ever since, with Ian directing all of Jez’s plays. That includes the smash hit Jerusalem, that was a runaway success at the Court, on West End and Broadway.

Eighteen years later Ian directed a revival of Mojo at the Harold Pinter Theatre, featuring an all star cast, including Ben Whishaw, Daniel Mays and Rupert Grint.

I love Jez’s writing and am a huge fan of Ian’s direction. They are both very likeable chaps; always engaging and obliging.

I drew this sketch of Ian and Jez in rehearsals for Mojo, hoping to get both to sign it on press night in November 2013. I managed to get Jez, but couldn’t find Ian, so figured he’d be around through the season. Whenever our paths did cross over the next two years, I didn’t have the sketch on me.

It wasn’t until press night of his most recent play The Red Lion at the National’s Dorfman Stage last week that I had a chance. I had to politely excuse myself at the official gathering in the foyer after the performance. He was his usual friendly self, liked the sketch and happily signed it.

Drawing: Kristin Scott Thomas, Lia Williams and Rufus Sewell in Old Times

old times001

Ian Rickson’s classy revival of Pinter’s cryptic play Old Times had a limited (Jan-April) engagement at the Harold Pinter theatre in London earlier this year. Locked away in a secluded farmhouse, Kate, Deeley and Anna reminisce about early days together in London. But, with conflicting memories and underlying sexual tensions, the past suddenly feels vividly present.

Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams alternated the role of Kate and Anna with Rufus Sewell playing Deeley. All three were happy to sign my sketch after a Saturday evening performance. In fact, Rufus even picked my New Zealand accent, and didn’t call me ‘Australian’ as is often the case