Back in the summer of 2012, Stephen Mangan and Lisa Dillon starred in Joe Penhall’s BIRTHDAY at the Royal Court in London. Lisa played Lisa and Stephen was Ed, a thirty-something couple with fertility problems who reverse roles and take advantage of a new procedure that allows him to give birth to their second child.
I drew this sketch, but didn’t get a chance to get it signed at the time.I managed to catch-up with Stephen when he appeared in JEEVES & WOOSTER at the Duke of York’s a year later and posted it here. This week I completed the mission when Lisa also ‘graphed it for me at the Theatre Royal Haymarket where she is featuring in the Shakespeare double-Bill (sorry), MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST. So here it is again.
Initially banned in the UK, Noël Coward’s 1932 provocative, witty, dark, bisexual comedy Design For Living had a major revival at London’s Old Vic in the Winter of 2010.
Directed by Old Vic Associate and Tony Award winner Anthony Page, the production featured Tom Burke (Otto), Lisa Dillon (Gilda) and Andrew Scott (Leo) as the menage-a-trois in this three act, two interval play.
Otto is a painter, Leo is a playwright and Gilda is an interior designer. The lines of engagement are: Gilda lives with artist Otto, but is equally drawn to playwright Leo. The two men, however, have enjoyed intimacy that predates Gilda.
Critic Michael Billington said, “the play offers a genuine contest between the bohemian talentocracy and moral orthodoxy. It is an attack on bourgeois stuffiness.”
As Leo puts it, “I love you. You love me. You love Otto. I love Otto. Otto loves you. Otto loves me,” providing the basis for the play’s plot convolutions.