Drawing: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

“This is one of those rare occasions when play, performance and production perfectly coalesce,” wrote Michael Billington in his five-star Guardian review of Edward Albee’s landmark 1962 marital-crisis drama, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? at London’s Harold Pinter Theatre. The latest West End revival, directed by James Macdonald, stars Imelda Staunton, Conleth Hill, Luke Treadaway and Imogen Poots. All four along with the production received rave reviews from every major critic after it’s opening this week. Billington summed them up. “Imelda Staunton brilliantly embodies Edward Albee’s campus Medusa in the shape of Martha. Conleth Hill matches her every inch of the way as her seemingly ineffectual husband George.

This is, however a team show and the young couple are excellently portrayed.  Luke Treadaway as Nick combines the golden arrogance of youth with the smug disdain of the scientist for a battered old humanist like George. Imogen Poots in her West End debut, strikingly shows the child-like Honey, switching between awed delight in the older couple’s outrageousness and a growing awareness that she herself is a victim of Nick’s contempt.”  The four cast members signed my drawing as they arrived for the Saturday matinee last weekend.

Drawing: Luke Treadaway

luke treadaway001

I met Luke Treadaway this week. Really nice guy and an impressive actor. It was at the Apollo Theatre stage door after an evening performance of the poignant and powerful play THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME. He’s  a 28 year-old who portrays a 15 year-old (15 years, 3 months and 2 days to be precise) Christopher Boone, who by his own admission is “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties”. Although not stated, the young protagonist displays characteristics of high-functioning autism as he investigates the death of Wellington – the neighbour’s black poodle.

It’s based on Mark Haddon’s  2003 best-selling mystery novel. The title is a quote from the famous fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1892 short story ‘Silver Blaze‘. The play premiered at the National Theatre in August 2012 with stage adaption by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliot. It transferred to the Apollo in May 2013. It won a record-equalling seven Oliviers at this years awards, including a Best Actor statuette for Luke – no easy feat, considering the other nominees were Mark Rylance, Rupert Everett, Rafe Spall and James McAvoy. I had to meet Luke this week because he finishes playing Christopher on Saturday. As he said, ‘Yep, only four more performances.”  I drew two sketches with Luke and the delightful Niamh Cussack, who plays Christopher’s mentor Siobhan. He signed this one and both of them graphed the other.