It’s not my birthday, but it is nearly Christmas…. faint reason to post this today, but I liked it and the lovely Kara Tointon. Vaguely interestingly enough this is the only drawing signed on my actual birthday, which is in April. Kara was appearing in Alan Ayckbourne’s ABSENT FRIENDS at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2012 and I was getting a cast sketch signed at the same time.
One of the other collectors happened to mention it was their birthday that day and were given tickets to see the play. Heaven knows why I piped up and said it was mine as well and I only have this sketch. But I did. She was signing it at the time and wrote this message on it.
A superb revival of Alan Ayckbourne’s Absent Friends, a comedy about bereavement and the death of love was staged at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London during the spring of 2012. Directed by Jeremy Herrin, the critically-acclaimed production had a stellar cast in alphabetical order, David Armand, Elizabeth Berrington, Katherine Parkinson, Steffan Rhodri, Reece Sheersmith and Kara Tointon – all of whom signed my sketch. Usually with larger casts it takes a few visits to the stage door to complete the set, but on this occasion the ‘graph god was smiling and as they all arrived for a saturday matinée on a sunny mid-april afternoon, one at a time in perfect procession, my mission was accomplished.
The Chichester production of George Bernard Shaw’s greatest play Pygmalion, transferred to London’s West End for a three month season at the Garrick Theatre in the Summer of 2011.
New cast member Kara Tointon, previously know for Eastenders and winning Strictly Come Dancing made a terrific West End stage debut as the cockney guttersnipe Eliza Doolittle, who transforms from torturing innocent vowels into a toff with a posh elocution when becoming the subject of a bet between Professor of Phonetics and confirmed bachelor Henry Higgins and a fellow linguist .
Rupert Everett reprised the role of his devilish and unconventional Higgins from Chichester.
Described by the Guardian as “two hours of continuous laughter,” this beautifully crafted and charmingly English play was Ayckbourn’s first great West End success, opening at the Duke of York’s in 1967. Its theme of middle class marital misery and the mistaken identity gag became his speciality.
Greg (Bennett) and Ginny (Tointon) only met a month ago, but he has made up his mind that she’s the one for him. She tells him that she’s off for a weekend at her parents. He finds a scribbled address and decides to surprise her and ask her father for his daughter’s hand.
Sheila (Kendal) and Philip (Coy) are enjoying a peaceful Sunday morning breakfast interrupted by the two visitors. The only thing – they’re not Ginny’s parents…
All four cast members are a delight, on and off the stage. They happily signed my sketch after Friday night’s performance.