Drawing: Cressida Bonas in An Evening With Lucian Freud

Cressida Bonas

Known as Cressy to her friends, British actress Cressida Bonas has been described by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein as a “fantastic” acting talent after her debut in Tulip Fever due out later this year. The Burberry model made her theatrical debut in 2014 at the Hay Festival in There’s a Monster in the Lake which was also staged at the Vault Festival in January 2015.

Earlier this month she appeared as Laura in the solo play An Evening With Lucian Freud by Laura-Jane Foley at London’s Leicester Square Theatre, receiving rave reviews. It tells the story of the days when Laura was a PhD student who became a friend of the late artist.

Prince Harry showed his support for his former girlfriend when he was spotted in the audience at one of the performances.

I had to fight the paps and autograph dealers on the first night performance, but managed to get near Cressida and she signed and dedicated this sketch, before quickly leaving the throng.

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Drawing: Rich Hall

Rich Hall

A master of a absurdist irony and rapid-fire wit, American comedian and musician Rich Hall mosied into London town last week and set up his stable at the Leicester Square Theatre for a few nights with his virtuoso musical mates.

Nearing the end of a UK Tour, Rich Hall’s Hoedown was described as a, “mash up of music, comedy and gratuitous coloration”.

This coincided with his other ‘West End’ show, 3:10 to Humour, which Rich performed during the month at various venues. Time Out’s description was “a mix of music, comedy, liquor and spent dreams with Richa Hall and his talented band. Tremendous fun”.

The Sun has called him “a comedy phenomenon”. Winner of the 2000 Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in the guise of his own uncle and red neck alter ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw, a much convicted comedy music singer.

Rich is well known for his TV and radio work, in shows such as QI, Live at the Apollo and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. When not in the UK, Rich goes back to his Montana ranch to write documentaries for BBC4.

With perfect timing, I came out of Leicester Square Station, walked the short distance to the theatre and who should be coming in the other direction? Yes, the man himself. He stopped for the obligatory selfie with a couple, then looked at my sketch and said, “you drew that? Jeez!”. Guilty. I assumed he liked it because he signed it and thanked me.

Drawing: Bill Bailey

bill bailey

English comedian, musician, actor, TV and radio presenter and author and the latest person to ‘graph one of my sketches, Bill Bailey has just finished doing some work in progress shows at London’s Leicester Square Theatre.

Listed in 2003 by The Observer as one of the 50 Funniest Acts in British Comedy, Bill was also voted the 7th greatest standup comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand Ups. As patron of International Animal Rescue, his pet project was the campaign to rescue dancing bears. For his conservation work he received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. He also has a a plant named after him – Nepenthes X Bill Bailey.

Due to the usual number of diversions and delays associated with multiple stage door stalking, on his final night I missed Bill. It would have also helped if I had got the time right. Those 24 hour clock times always get me… So I thought I’d just send it to him.

It said on his website to allow a month for a reply. I think I got home from posting it and the item was sitting in my post box! Slight exaggeration for comic effect, but he was quick.

Sketch: Matt Tedford as Margaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho

Matt Tedford

The Huffington Post said, “Matthew Tedford gives a five star performance as the late Prime Minister,” in its review of the award winning actor, comedian and writer’s Margaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho which played the Leicester Square Theatre in London earlier this year.

Co-written with Jon Brittain, the camp comic cabaret is a re-imagining of the events leading up to the passing of the controversial Section 28 in 1988 that banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools. Matt’s ‘Maggie’ takes a wrong turn in Soho and ends up as an unlikely drag diva. Yes… the Iron Lady becomes a gay rights championing cabaret superstar!

Margaret Thatcher still remains the United Kingdom’s longest running and only female Prime Minister (1979-1990). Before running the country, she was a research chemist and actually invented the chemical that makes soft serve ice cream…

The show played to full houses around the UK and Ireland, culminating in a total sell out season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year. Not only did Matt sign, but his alter ego did as well, bonus!

Drawing: Susannah York

Susannah York001

I had a continuing schoolboy crush on Susannah York and was lucky enough to see her in Daphne Du Maurier’s September Tide at the then Comedy Theatre in 1994. The production still remains one of my favourites, for both the play itself and the performances, which also included Michael Praed and Hermione Norris. Both Susannah and Michael signed my programme afterwards.

16 years later I waited outside the Leicester Square Theatre to again ask Susannah for her siggy on my sketches. She was appearing in the play Miracle I had just missed her but the others gathered with similar intent. She told them that she wouldn’t be long and that she had just popped out to buy something to eat. Susannah soon returned and appeared quite fragile, almost frightened. But smiled when she saw the sketches and was happy to sign them with her usual strong signature. Subsequently I found out that in actual fact it was her birthday that day. Sadly she only had one more birthday and passed away 6 days after her 72nd birthday of bone cancer. Her obituary in the Telegraph read, “the blue-eyed English rose with the china-white skin and cupid lips who epitomised the sensuality of the swinging 60’s”