Drawing: Lily James as Juliet

Lily James

I couldn’t resist doing another sketch of Lily James as Juliet, currently starring in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s ROMEO AND JULIET as part of the Plays At The Garrick season in the iconic London venue. Matt Trueman wrote in his Variety review, the fawnlike James is “beautifully expressive, stretching the verse like silly putty…”

Lily signed this second drawing for me last week after an evening performance. The production on 13 August.

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Drawing: Zoe Rainey in Romeo and Juliet

zoe rainey

Northern Irish actress Zoe Rainey is appearing in her second Shakespearian production of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s season of Plays at the Garrick, playing Romeo’s mum, Lady Montague in ROMEO AND JULIET. Earlier this year she played Emilia in the tragicomedy THE WINTER’S TALE. Prior to that Zoe had worked with Kenneth in  the live action remake of Disney’s CINDERELLA and will be seen next year in another live action adaption of an animated classic, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, also playing a maternal role, this time Belle’s mother. Her extensive stage career includes WICKED at the Apollo, GUYS AND DOLLS and PARADE at the Donmar Warehouse and the World Premiere of FINDING NEVERLAND at the Leicester Curve.

Zoe signed this sketch leaving the Garrick after an evening performance of R&J last week.

Drawing: Marisa Berenson as Lady Capulet

Marisa Berenson Lady Capulet

When Marisa Berenson signed my portrait sketch a couple of weeks ago I promised to return with a drawing of her as Lady Capulet-her role in the Kenneth Branagh Company’s ROMEO AND JULIET which is currently running at the Garrick Theatre in London.

Gracing the cover of every magazine during the seventies Marisa was one of the world’s most in-demand and highest paid models. Now, in her sixties she makes her West End debut as Juliet’s mother,not a model parent. The detached and superficial Lady Capulet’s relationship with her daughter is not a close one and Marisa’s portrayal was described by Quentin Letts as “nicely stiff appearance” in the Daily Mail.

I caught up with the very engaging Marisa at the Garrick stage door on Friday afternoon as she arrived for the evening performance and she was happy to sign this sketch for me as well.

Drawing: Meera Syal in Romeo and Juliet

Meera Syal

In another life when I trod the boards, I once played Peter in the Bard’s classic romantic tragedy ROMEO AND JULIET. Not a major character, but the one charged with adding comic relief to the sad tale – the story of my life.

Peter was the loyal servant of Juliet’s Nurse, a major character who acts as a go-between for Romeo and Juliet and is the only person besides Friar Laurence to know of the star-crossed lovers’ wedding. I say this as a feeble intro and my loose connection to the Nurse, a major role in Shakespeare’s archetypal love story.

Meera Syal plays the Nurse in the Kenneth Branngh Company’s latest revival at the Garrick Theatre in London. The comedian, writer, playwright, singer, journalist, producer and actress is probably best known for her portrayal as one of Britain’s most loveable Indian personalities, Sanjeev’s grandmother Ummi in THE KUMARS AT NUMBER 42.

Meera signed this sketch for me as she arrived for Saturday’s matinee.

Drawing: Lily James in Romeo and Juliet

Lily James

Young English actress Lily James’s star continues its meteoric rise with the title role in Shakespeare’s tragic tale of young star-crossed lovers, ROMEO AND JULIET as part of Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s Plays at the Garrick season in London.

Already well known for her roles are Lady Rose Aldridge in ITV’s period drama DOWNTON ABBEY, for which she and the ensemble cast have won two Screen Actors Guild Awards and this year’s BBC drama series WAR & PEACE, Lily is no stranger to the stage. After graduating from London’s The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2010 she quickly appeared in a variety of prominent plays, including the modern version of Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL at the Southwark Playhouse and as Desdemona in OTHELLO alongside Dominic West at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The Daily Mail’s Quentin Lett’s wrote “…she practically sweeps all before her as Desdemona, poise, diction, allure – she has them all.”

I managed to position myself in a good place at the Garrick’s stage door barriers after the first night performance last Thursday, where initially two security officers were in attendance and soon joined by a third after he had finished his duties at Kit Harington‘s meet-and-greet one street over at the Duke of York’s. Obviously they were anticipating a large gathering and that proved to be the case. Eventually, both Lily and her ‘Romeo’, Richard Madden, who was also her Prince Kit in Disney’s 2015 live-action version of CINDERELLA appeared and Lily signed and dedicated this sketch for me.

Drawing: Tamara Rojo in Romeo and Juliet

Tamara Rojo

This is the second sketch of Tamara Rojo, The English National Ballet’s principal dancer and artistic director, signed for me this month. She is reuniting with Cuban star Carlos Acosta for the classic romantic tragedy Romeo + Juliet, (which they last performed in 2011 for the Royal Ballet) at the Royal Albert Hall in June 2014.