Drawing: Ron Cook in Trelawny of the Wells

Ron Cook

Patrick Marber’s adaption of Pinero’s ‘ love letter to theatre,’ TRELAWNY OF THE WELLS, directed by Joe Wright in the early Spring of 2013, at the Donmar Warehouse in London’s Covent Garden. Included in the outstanding cast was the impressive and very busy Ron Cook – so busy he played two roles in this production. Opening the 1898 comic play he appears in drag as the ‘theatrical landlady’ described by Charles Spencer in The Telegraph as a “brilliant comic coup” before settling into his role as the “superb” crusty old judge Sir William Gower.

Ron is always very friendly and obliging at the stage door. He signed this drawing for me at the Trafalgar Studios earlier this year when he was appearing in THE HOMECOMING. He returns to the Donmar in June in FAITH HEALER.

Drawing: The Homecoming at the Trafalgar Studios

The Homecoming

Fifty years after it premiered in London, director Jamie Lloyd staged the anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s THE HOMECOMING at the Trafalgar Studios over the last three months.  Considered by many to be the English playwright’s masterpiece, the play opened at the Aldwych Theatre in June 1965, before its Broadway premiere two years later at The Music Box.

The story revolves around a villainous family and an unexpected reunion. This domestic war zone is inhabited by six characters, five of whom are male and related. Prodigal son and Philosophy Professor Teddy (Gary Kemp) returns home from America with his pretty but disturbed wife Ruth (Gemma Chan) to his grotty North London home, where retired butcher and fading family patriarch, (or as critic Dominic Cavendish calls him ‘paterfamilias’) Max (Ron Cook) exists with his camp chauffeur brother Sam (Keith Allen) and two sons, the quick-witted and toxic pimp Lenny (John Simm) and the dim-witted demolition man and  boxer-in-training Joey (John Macmillan).

“Jamie Lloyd’s excellent revival offers a fresh approach to the play without in any way violating the rhythms of Pinter’s text,” wrote Michael Billington in The Guardian.

This montage sketch took a few attempts to get graphed. Between the inclement weather, cast illness and exit variations,  I eventually managed to get it all sorted after the final matinee on Saturday.

Sketch: Ron Cook in The Ruling Class at Trafalgar Studios

Ron Cook

The versatile English actor Ron Cook has been a stalwart of theatre, film and television since the 1970’s. He may not be a household name but will be instantly recognisable to global audiences in all three mediums. Ron has appeared in  most of the popular British TV shows, including DOCTOR WHO, BERGERAC, MIDSOMMER MURDERS, THE SINGING DETECTIVE and can be currently seen as Mr Crabb the accountant in the ITV series MR SELFRIDGE. He has actually played Napoleon Bonaparte twice, in a guest appearance in SHARPE and in the feature film QUILLS – one of Ron’s 54 movies, which also includes THE COOK (appropriately), THE THIEF, HIS WIFE & HER LOVER, SECRETS & LIES and TOPSY-TURVY. A highlight of Ron’s extensive theatre work was an Olivier Award Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK at the Donmar Warehouse. He can now be seen on the London stage as Sir Charles Gurney in the first revival of Peter Barnes’s social satire THE RULING CLASS at the Trafalgar Studios, where he signed this sketch.