British actor Peter Davison came to prominence as Tristan Farnon in James Herriot’s ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL before becoming the fifth incarnation of the Doctor in DOCTOR WHO. He is coincidently the real life father in law of the tenth Doctor David Tennant.
Apart from his extensive TV work Peter has a distinguished stage career including two of his recent appearances, as Professor Callahan in LEGALLY BLONDE and Herbie in GYPSY, both at the Savoy Theatre in London. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for the latter. I dropped this sketch off at the theatre, having missed Peter a couple of times at the stage door and it eventually came back signed.
The rock god Ian Anderson, frontman and flautist for the legendary band JETHRO TULL is one of my all-time musical heroes. Ever since I was introduced to their music as a high school student visiting my Aunty Tricia and John, her boyfriend (and subsequently her husband and my uncle) at their university flat. Tull was always playing and became a influential or should that be in-flute-tial part of my formative and not-so-education, listening to albums such as THICK AS A BRICK, AQUALUNG and A PASSION PLAY.
Ian’s signatures are the one legged stance and the iconic flute, which he actually took up started playing because of his frustration with the guitar and he wanted something a bit more idiosyncratic for the band formed in 1967 and named after the British 18th century agriculturist.
I have been lucky enough to see Ian and Tull perform a few times and in fact meet Ian before a concert in Melbourne, Australia, albeit it briefly many moons ago. It only occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that I hadn’t drawn him, so that go sorted lickity split and I posted the drawing to his company. It came back even lickity splitter, signed, before he embarked on the latest North American tour. It’s one of my most treasured pieces.
I always like drawing David Tennant- so expressive and he has always been kind enough to sign my scribblings over the years. His latest West End outing is the rakish titular lead in Patrick Marber’s revival of his own play DON JUAN IN SOHO at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
Last seen eleven years ago at the Donmar with Rhys Ifans, the play is a free-flowing update of Moliere’s 1665 comedy about a well- heeled hedonist. David is no stranger to seduction at Wyndham’s, having played the part of Benedick in Josie Rourke’s 2011 production of Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING alongside Catherine Tate.
David’s portrayal of the ‘Satan in a suit from Saville Row’ drew universal praise from the critics. The Guardian’s Michael Billington stating “It is Tennant’s performance that gives the play a disturbing ambivalence.” Eleanor Turney simply said “He’s an absolute bastard, but a charming one.”
Mark Ruffalo returned to the Broadway boards after an eleven-year absence in Arthur Miller’s rarely-revived THE PRICE at the American Airlines Theatre during the Spring. The three-time Oscar-nominated actor played career cop Victor Franz alongside Danny De Vito who was making his Broadway debut.
Mark was last seen on the Great White Way in Clifford Odet’s AWAKE AND SING! which also garnered him a Tony nomination. Known as ‘the actor’s activist’, Mark said in a recent interview that his acting teacher would tell him that ‘ art is activism… we should pay to go to church and the theatre should be free – that’s where we learn about ourselves.’ His character in THE PRICE is exiled to the Police departments version of Siberia- out by the airport because he doesn’t participate in the department’s politics. Mark has always been a good signer and very fan-friendly so I sent this sketch of him in the role to the theatre and it came signed.
English actor and BAFTA-winner John Adedayo B. Adegboyega, known by his stage name John Boyega has returned to the stage after finding International success as the rogue stormtrooper Finn in the seventh film in the STAR WARS series, THE FORCE AWAKENS. He’s come a long way from his first stage role as a leopard in a primary school play.
John is currently playing a British soldier patrolling the East/West border in Berlin during the 1980’s in an adaption by Jack Thorne of the 19th century play WOYZECK by the German playwright Georg Buchner. A handful of us caught up with John at stage door before last Saturday’s matinee when he stopped to sign some graphs, including my sketch. An hour later he was back outside the theatre with other cast and crew and the audience, who were all evacuated to the nearby Imperial Museum Gardens after a bomb threat stopped the play 15 minutes into the performance.
Alongside Vaslav Nijinsky, Vladimir Vasiliev and Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov is considered one of the greatest ballet dancers in history. He returned to the London stage last week, not as a dancer, but reading the poetry of Nobel Laurate Joseph Brodsky, who was one of the first people Mikhail meet in New York when he defected from the Soviet Union in 1974.
Joseph was a huge influence on ‘Misha’ In the years the later revolutionised and popularised ballet as a performer and choreographer, while launching a successful parallel career as an actor, earning an Oscar nomination playing Yuri Kopeikine in the 1977 film THE TURNING POINT. Their relationship forms the basis for Latvian director Alvin Hermanis’s experimental theatre piece, BRODSKY/BARYSHNIKOV in which Mikhail reads his friend’s poetry in the original Russian. After productions in Riga, Te Aviv and New York Mikhail, performed the show for five nights at the Apollo Theatre in London, where I managed to meet him at the stage door and he signed my sketch.
She’s a household name in the Netherlands, and now Dutch actress Halina Reijn makes her first performing English speaking role in London in Ivo van Hove’s stage adaption of Luchino Visconti’s 1943 Italian neo-realism film OBSESSION at the Barbican.
It’s part of the multi-award winning Belgian director’s Avante Garde Theatre company, Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s four play residency at the London venue. Halina is Hanna, the abused wife of a bullying hotel proprietor, who has a passionate love affair with drifter Gino played by Jude Law.
“Reijn in some ways is even more extraordinary,” wrote Michael Billington in the Guardian. “She starts with the right air of anguished solitude, is quickened into life by the presence of the charismatic stranger and later sets about reordering her existence with a conscienceless practicality. It says something about Law and Reijn that, for a moment, I saw the couple as a modern version of the Macbeth.”
I met the very engaging Halina before last Saturday’s matinee and she was more than happy with my drawing and signed it. The production, which runs until 20 May, screens nationwide in selected UK cinemas tonight as part of National Theatre Live.
Romanian tenor Teodor Ilincai made his international debut as MacDuff in Verdi’s MACBETH at the Hamburg State Opera in January 2009 and later that year first appeared at the Royal Opera House, playing Rodolfo in LA BOHEME. He returned to Covent Garden last month as Lieutenant Pinkerton opposite Ana Maria Martinez in MADAMA BUTTERFLY, where he signed my drawing.
Australian actress Annette Andre appeared in a number of high profile British TV shows in the 1960’s and 70’s, including THE AVENGERS, THE SAINT and THE PRISIONER, with her longest running role as Marty Hopkirk’s widow Jeannie in the Private detective series RANDALL AND HOPKIRK (DECEASED). She starred alongside Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope who played private detectives Jeffrey Randall and Martin Hopkirk respectively, the later returning as a ghost after he was murdered while investigating a case. Annette was speaking at the Museum Of Comedy in London a couple of weeks ago about the show and her career. I managed to catch up with her afterwards and she signed this Jeannie portrait for me.
Monty Python’s Michael Palin is referred to as ‘Britain’s nicest man’. In his 2009 Telegraph interview with Marc Lee, entitled ‘He’s not a Messiah, but a very nice man’, Michael said it was because of his “amenable conciliatory character.”
After university he teamed up with fellow Oxford graduate Terry Jones to write for TV shows such as the RIPPING YARNS, DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET and THE FROST REPORT, which was the first time all the British Python’s – Michael, Terry and John Cleese, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman worked together before creating the iconic MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS. They were joined by Terry Gilliam who was an American citizen.
After that Michael journeyed to all corners of the planet many times over as a travel writer and documentarian. His career has also been sprinkled with notable film appearances, including his BAFTA-winning supporting role as Ken Pile in 1988’s A FISH CALLED WANDA. It was the first of four BAFTA’s awarded to Michael. In 2013 he was the given the Fellowship the British Academy’s highest honour. I did this Python/Wanda montage and dropped it into his London agent’s office where Britain’s nicest man signed it for me with a nice inscription.