Drawing: Laura Carmichael in Apologia

Since playing DOWNTON ABBEY’s Lady Edith for the last time in 2015, Southampton- born Laura Carmichael has been developing an impressive stage career. Last year she appeared in Jamie Lloyd’s THE MAIDS at the Trafalgar Studios and has returned to the intimate London venue this month in another one of his productions, the revival of Alexei Kaye Campbell’s 2009 spiky family drama APOLOGIA.

“However, it’s Carmichael who – released from the corsets of DOWNTON ABBEY – almost steals the show from Stockard Channing. She’s superb as American physiotherapist Trudy, turning uptick lilt of every nervous platitude into comedy gold”, wrote Tom Wicker in his The Stage review.

Laura signed my Trudi sketch at the stage door after last Saturday’s matinee performance.

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Drawing: Uzo Aduba, Zawe Ashton and Laura Carmichael in The Maids

The Maids

“Hi-Ho, Hi- Ho, it’s off to kill we go,” sing the two maidservants and sisters Claire and Solange as they plot to kill their employer ‘ Madame’ in Jamie Lloyd’s opening production for 2016, THE MAIDS at London’s Trafalgar Studios.

Loosely based on a notorious real-life murder case in 1933 involving the Papuan sisters, Jean Genet’s violent 1947 classic thriller, translated by Benedict Andrews and Andrew Upton is a real sadomasochistic shocker.

Time Out’s Alice Saville highlighted the “phenomenal acting” by  Emmy Award-winning Uzo Aduba, known as ‘Crazy Eyes’ in the prison set drama ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, Zawe Ashton, the unconventional Vod from Chanel 4’s FRESH MEAT as  the murderous siblings and  DOWNTOWN ABBEY’S finally-lucky-in love Lady Edith, Laura Carmichael, as their victim.

Uzo, Zawe and Laura signed my sketch at the Trafalgar stage door on Saturday.

Drawing: Laura Carmichael in Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre

laura carmichael001

Laura Carmichael, best known for her role as Lady Edith Crawly in the Golden Globe and Emmy award winning historical drama Downton Abbey, made her West End debut in the new production of Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre.

She joined Kim Stott, Anna Friel and Samuel West.

Laura’s other television and film credits include The Heart of Thomas Hardy and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

2012 was certainly the year of Uncle Vanya revivals. A very funny and mercurial account of Chekhov’s great tragicomedy of wasted lives, directed by Lucy Bailey at the Print Room, and a more melancholic take from Jeremy Herrin at Chichester. In November, opening within days of each other, two ‘Vanyas‘ hit the West End. A version from Moscow based Vakhtangov Company at the Noël Coward Theatre and Lindsay Posner’s rendering at the Vaudeville, based on a sharp, ruefully witty translation by Oscar Winner Christopher Hampton.

Theatrical titan Sir Peter Hall enjoyed the evening and Laura’s performance immensely, but had to apologise to her for an outburst during the poignant closing speech, during the opening night. “Being rather aged I dropped off for a moment and on being woken up by my wife I was briefly disorientated.”

The production generally garnered positive reviews with the 25 year old Laura’s performance as Vanya’s niece Sonya singled out for praise for its sensitivity.