Drawing: Rhys Ifans as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol

Autographed drawing of Rhys Ifans as Scrooge in The Christmas Carol at The Old Vic Theatre on London's West End

In the immortal words of Scrooge, “A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy new year to all the world! Whoop!”

What better time to post this sketch of the wonderful Welsh actor Rhys Ifans as one of Charles Dickens’ most memorable characters in the Old Vic production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL in London. It’s the ultimate redemption story, the cold-hearted miser who despises the festive season, until the Christmas Spirits fill him with love and joy.

We saw the excellent production a couple of weeks ago and Rhys signed this drawing for me yesterday at the stage door.

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Drawing: Rhys Ifans as The Fool in King Lear

ifans-lear

Welsh actor Rhys Ifans returned to the London stage as the Fool in KING LEAR, which finished its run at the Old Vic last week. The production marked the theatrical comeback after 25 years of Glenda Jackson in the lead role. Although he had established himself with an extensive acting CV, Rhys became a global name as Hugh Grant’s lodger Spike in the 1999 film NOTTING HILL His scheming clown in LEAR received critical acclaim with the Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish writing, “Definite highlights include Rhys Ifans as an anarchic Fool, in a Superman cape, donning a scary clown mask and sleeping out the storm in shopping trolley.” Rhys has already gone in by the time I got to the stage door, but popped out for a quite ciggy and a siggy on my sketch.

Drawing: Rhys Ifans in Protest Song at The National Theatre

Protest Song

Protest Song is a 70 minute monologue in The Shed – The National Theatre’s new intimate venue on the South Bank.

A rough sleeper, Danny finds himself caught up in the Occupy movement’s protest camp that descended on St Paul’s environs through the winter of 2011. It’s visceral political theatre, lampooning inequality at every level and the gulf between the people who have temporarily taken to the streets, and the man who lives there because he has nowhere else to go.

Initially furious at the invasion, Danny gradually gets involved with his ‘surrogate’ family, giving shape to his day.

Rhys Ifans plays the wounded and resilient Danny, delivering Tim Price’s funny and savage narrative in what critics have called, “a blazing performance”, “superb” and “utterly convincing”. After many years of being asked to move along, it’s ironic now to be told to remain motionless in one place. He takes refuge in banter and anecdotes, full of pathos and humour, but imminently combustible.

It’s not your usual festive theatre, with no fairytale ending, summed up by the metaphor of a piano with damaged keys, that when something is broken you have to find a way to work around it. It’s the only way the music will be heard.