Sketch: Zrinka Cvitešić in Once


Thirty five year old Croatian actress Zrinka Cvitešić made her West End debut at the Phoenix Theatre as ‘Girl’ in the hit musical Once, receiving rave reviews and winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

She has also won a handful of awards for her celluloid work and a regular at the National Theatre of her native Croatia. I managed to meet Zrinka at the Royal Opera House stage door as she emerged, all glommed up to walk the red carpet at last year’s Oliviers and sh was very happy to sign it – even before she won!

Drawing: Ronan Keating in Once at the Phoenix Theatre

ronan keating

Last month Irish singer and former Boyzone front man Ronan Keating took over the role of ‘Guy’ from David Hunter in the Olivier and Tony award winning musical Once at the Phoenix Theatre in London.

He is the fourth ‘Guy’ in the West End production and is scheduled to perform the role until March next year when the show will close.

Based on the much loved Oscar winning film, Once tells the story of an Irish busker and a young Czech mother who meet through a shared love of music.

Drawing: Arthur Darvill in Once at the Phoenix Theatre

arthur darvill

British musician and actor Arthur Darvill’s small screen notoriety includes the concerned vicar of Broadchurch, and Rory Williams, the eleventh Doctor’s companion in Dr Who for three seasons, until he disembarked from the Tardis, killed off by the Weeping Angels.

Arthur has composed music for three London productions, The Frontline (Globe), Been So Long (Young Vic) and The Lightning Child (Globe) and has trod on the city’s boards in Our Boys (Duchess), Doctor Faustus (Globe) and Been So Long (Young Vic) and Swimming With Sharks (Vaudeville) with Doctor Who co-star Matt Smith.

And he also collects taxidermy, which seems to be a common hobby for a few people I’ve sketched. After an eight month run as Guy, the Irish busking vacuum cleaner repairman, in the musical Once at the Bernard B Jacobs Theater on Broadway, Arthur continued the role in the London production in march this year for a limited engagement.

I caught up with him at the Phoenix Theatre stage door midweek with my drawing. He said “It looks better than me,” but signed it anyway with a ‘nice’ comment.

Drawing: Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešić in Once


Once is the stage adaption of the 2006 film of the same name. It’s based on the book written by Enda Walsh, about an Irish busker and a Czech flower seller.

After a season at the New York Theatre Workshop, it transferred to Broadway and became a musical sensation, winning 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The song Falling Slowly won the Academy Award.

On April 9, 2013 it opened at the Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End. ‘The Guy’ and ‘The Girl’ leads – Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešić signed for me at the stage door after a Saturday matinée performance on 18 May.