Half a century after it’s premiere on the Old Vic stage, ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, the philosophical tragicomedy play that made a young Tom Stoppard’s name overnight, returned to the same venue with Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire in the title roles. Originally booked until the end of April, the season has been extended until this weekend due to popular demand.
It’s the ultimate identity crisis when two hapless minor characters, flipping coins while watching Shakespeare’s HAMLET from the wings. In his four-star review the Guardian’s Michael Billington said, “Radcliffe is perfectly matched by Joshua McGuire in a nimble hire-wire act that balances quickfire humour with a poignant awareness of death.” Both Dan and Joshua signed my sketch a couple of weeks ago after a Saturday evening performance at the Old Vic.
Welsh comedian and ‘fully fledged light entertainment personality’ Rob Brydon is currently starring in Future Conditional, the first production at the Old Vic theatre under its new artistic director Matthew Warchus, who has taken over from Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey. The play tackles the challenges of the British schooling system – a subject I have a close working knowledge of- written by Royal Court director-turned-writer Tamsin Oglesby. Rob plays an English Teacher, God held him. And it was the good Lord who was uttered as he saw this sketch when I stopped him whizzing out of the Old Vic stage door on Saturday night. I think it was an exclamation of admiration rather than a call to the almighty for help. “Oh my Lord,” he gasped followed by “Yes,yes.yes.”- the holy trinity of confirmation to my signing request.
Lucy Bailey’s new staging of Ivan Turgenev’s savagely funny FORTUNE’S FOOL completes its successful season at the Old Vic this week. It featured Iain Glen and Richard McCabe in the lead roles, until the former had to recently leave the production following doctor’s advice. Critics praised the play, with The Observer calling it a “little masterpiece”. It described Iain’s performance as “perfect” and Richard was “magnificent”. Unfortunately, I waited at the stage door with this drawing on the day Iain left the show. Richard, as usual was happy to sign, but I missed Iain and finding out about his illness and subsequent withdrawal presented a different kind of challenge. Rats! Fortunately, I decided to leave it at the Theatre with a note and return envelope in the hope that someone may pass it on to Iain along with a bundle of ‘get well’ cards. And indeed hope sprang eternal… well it sprung a siggy and dedication from the man himself, which arrived by post yesterday.