Alex Kingston made her New York stage debut as Lady Macbeth opposite Kenneth Branagh in Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish play’ at the cavernous Park Avenue Armoury in June 2014. Co-directed by Rob Ashford and Sir Kenneth, this immersive production transferred from a limited run at the deconsecrated St Peter’s church as one of the highlights of the Manchester International Festival a year earlier. “Branagh is expertly matched by Alex Kingston”, wrote Dominic Cavendish in his Telegraph review. “Lady Macbeth – an electrifying, highly wrought Alex Kingston” was The Stage’s Michael Coveney’s summation of her acclaimed performance. The production was also screened in cinemas throughout the UK and internationally as part of the National Theatre Live programme.
Alex’s notable television work includes her title role in the miniseries THE FORTUNES AND MISFORTUNES OF MOLL FLANDERS in 1996, for which she received a BAFTA nomination and her portrayal of British surgeon Elizabeth Corday in the US medical drama ER for seven seasons between 1997-2004, returning for the final season in 2009 for two episodes, winning two SAG Awards as part of the ensemble cast. She played River Song, the Time Lord’s wife in DOCTOR WHO from 2008-2015.
Alex returned to the London stage earlier this year to play Sherri Rosen-Mason, the head of admissions at a sixth-form college in Joshua Harmon’s successful Broadway play ADMISSIONS at London’s Trafalgar Studios, where she signed my drawing.
Sian Thomas has done it all. Her screen credits include HARRY POTTER and MERLIN and on stage she has covered the full gambit of parts including Martha in Edward Albee’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? and Lady Macbeth in ‘the Scottish Play’. In 2002 she appeared with Madonna who was making her West End debut in UP FOR GRABS at Wyndham’s Theatre. Michael Billington wrote in his Guardian review, “Sian Thomas, who can get a laugh simply through the flick of an eyelid is superb as a Courtauld-trained consultant longing to get her revenge on the corporate world.”
In the Royal Shakespeare’s 2004, production of MACBETH at Stratford-upon-Avon, Billington wrote, ” Sian Thomas was born to play Lady Macbeth, the right mixture of attack, sexiness and emotional drive.”
I drew this sketch of Sian as Lady Macbeth and Martha and meet her at the Donmar Warehouse on Saturday after the matinee performance of WELCOME HOME, CAPTAIN FOX where she signed it for me.
British actress Kate Fleetwood will be well known to cinema audiences from her roles in films such as Harry Potter, Les Misérables and Philomena, but it’s her stage work that has won her the most plaudits.
She made her Broadway debut opposite Patrick Stewart in the critically lauded Chichester Festival Theatre production of Macbeth in 2008. Her ferocious and much younger ‘trophy wife’ portrayal of Lady Macbeth won wide acclaim and a Tony Award nomination. In 2012 Kate was also nominated for the Olivier for her performance as Julie in the musical London Road at the National Theatre in London.
Earlier this year she played the power hungry eldest daughter in Sam Mendes’ production of King Lear also at the National. Lloyd Evans in The Spectator described her, “outstanding performance” as a,”slinky, ice cold Goneril glides around like Wallis Simpson looking for a playboy to chew up and spit out”.
This montage sketch, kindly signed and dedicated, captures Kate in both roles.
Known globally as the hobbit Pippin in all three Lord of the Rings films, Scottish actor Billy Boyd is also an accomplished musician, singing, playing guitar, bass and drums. He fronts the band Beecake named after his LOTR co-star, Dominic Monaghan, sent him a picture of a cake covered in bees. Billy wrote the song The Edge of NIght for Peter jackson’s last instalment of LOTR The Return of the King.
Billy just finished a season of ‘the Scottish play’ at Shakespeare’s Globe in London this week. He signed my sketch on the last day.
Alan Cumming has just finished performing a radical re-imagining of Macbeth, single handedly! to sell out audiences on Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre (of Theater in the American vernacular).
He won the Olivier Award, playing the maniac in Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist in 1996 and the Tony Award for his role as the MC in the Broadway production of Cabaret seven years later. Alan has also been nominated for two Emmys and two Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.
In this National Theatre of Scotland production the 11th Century ‘Thane of Cawdor’s’ murderous ambition and corrosive guilt is cleverly transferred to a chilly chamber of a mental institution where a CCTV camera captures the patient’s every move as he is habited in turn by each of the characters from ‘the Scottish play’. In two hours with no intermission he performs “one power grab, and 16 major roles,” as one reviewer put it. “Cumming’s delivery swiftly shifts characters with stunning clarity.”
Alan signed my sketch yesterday at a preview screening of his latest film Any Day Now at Piccadilly Vue Apollo Cinema in London
Glasgow-born James McAvoy has just completed the lead role in a sell out season of ‘the Scottish play’, with English actress Claire Foy as Lady Macbeth.
After an eighty day run as London’s Trafalgar Studios, James goes straight into filming the next instalment of X Men alongside the two Knights, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, who have both also starred as the murdering Scot. James commented that it would be fun having three Macbeths in the one place “We might have a Macbeth-off – my Macbeth’s better than your Macbeth!”
The production received rave reviews, but the interaction with the audience didn’t always go to script. He suddenly stopped mid-scene when someone in the front was filming with his mobile phone. He refused to continue with the play until the device was firmly put away. James also stopped in the middle of the climatic sword fight to help an audience member who had collapsed. He called for help, cracked a joke or two, then continued the scene with the same intensity, according to one witness who tweeted the event. On another occasion, he told two drunk women who kept talking through the early scenes to “shut up”. They eventually complied and later fell asleep.
When he signed my sketch, going in for the Friday evening’s performance, he was telling the gathered ‘graphers that he had injured an eye and his hand due to the intense physicality of the play. Luckily it was his left hand, so he could still sign!