Hollywood stars Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell are attracting the critics attention and West End audiences in the Young Vic production of Tennessee William’s simmering Southern drama CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF at the Apollo theatre.
“Benedict Andrews radical update of the classic delivers emotional intensity shot through with humour- and a blistering performance from Jack O’Connell”, wrote Michael Billington in the intro to his Guardian review. The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish, who admitted he initially was going to write it off as a summer filler, saw the production and gave it four stars, adding, “Miller confirms she’s not just a pretty feline face… her Margaret is a hideously plausible portrait of a women putting on a grave face to hold back tears desolation.”
On a very wet Saturday lunchtime Sienna arrived at the stage door and signed for all who were waiting including my sketch, under the small covered doorway. Jack rides his bike, complete with helmet, so he flies in with no one recognising or stopping him. It took me a couple of return visits to figure this out, so last Saturday, when he did the same I managed to get his attention and his graph before he disappeared into the theatre and on stage for the matinee.
Sir Trevor Nunn’s emotionally resonant revival of Terrance Rattigan’s wartime drama FLARE PATH played the Theatre Royal Haymarket during the spring of 2011. It was part of the author’s centenary tribute. Written in 1941 and staged a year later,the play is based on his own experiences as a tail-gunner in the RAF coastal command. It is a love triangle,set in the lounge of a Lincolnshire hotel where bomber pilots,stationed at the nearby airbase stay with conjugal guests. Sienna Miller returned to the West End to play Patricia Graham, an actress torn between her pilot husband,Teddy (Harry Haddon-Paton) and Peter Kyle, (James Purefoy) her movie star lover. The production was a huge success and was extended due to popular demand. Critics called it “richly entertaining and beautifully judged revival of this theatrical rarity”…”a deeply moving portrayal of people at war”, said The Guardian’s Michael Billington. I managed to manoeuvre my way around the predatory packs of paps one April evening to ask Sienna to sign my sketch at the stage door. It was more a matter of ‘fright flare’ from all the flash bulbs going off! In fact, the illumination was so intense,she had to wait in between flashes to see the drawing which washed out under the brightness. James was a little easier. He and his dog emerged later to a much more sedate reception and happily signed.