Drawing: Alexei Sayle

“Americans have different ways of saying things. They say ‘elevator’, we say ‘lift’ – they say ‘President’, we say ‘stupid, psychopathic git'”. One of comic legend’s Alexei Sayle’s infamous and now most apt one liners.

Voted 18th on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-up Comics in 2009, Alexei was a central figure in the alternative comedy movement of the 1980’s. His satirical style was based on cynicism and political awareness. The Emmy-winning British actor appeared in numerous TV shows but he was best known for his involvement in the iconic THE YOUNG ONES alongside Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer and Christopher Ryan. He played a many characters, but his main role was the apparently Russian landlord Jerzy Balowski.

Alexei was doing a few nights of ‘work in progress’ gigs at the Soho Theatre last week so I took the opportunity to meet him and get my drawing signed.

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Drawing: David Tennant in Don Juan in Soho

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.”

Drawing: Wendy Wason

“She’s absolutely hysterical,” said Jimmy Carr about fellow comedian, Wendy Wason. The Sunday Times added “charming, clever and funny.’ The Edinburgh-raised actress and writer’s initial career was in film and TV, appearing in TAGGERT, SHERLOCK, MIDSOMMER MURDERS, THE IT CROWD and in feature films such as THE LIBERTINE with the three Johnnies, Depp, Malcovich and Vegas. She branched out into stand-up comedy in 2004 at Edinburgh’s Guided ballroom, followed by successful shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW (2008), OTHER PEOPLES SECRETS (2010), FLASHBACKS (2011), HOTEL CALIFORNIA (2014) and last year, TINY ME, which she performed at the Soho Theatre in London for three nights last week. On one of those nights she signed this sketch for me.

Drawing: Milton Jones

Milton Jones? “Oh that’s the bloke with the shirts and sticky-up hair,” most people would probably say, according to the man himself, a regular panallist on BBC Two’s MOCK THE WEEK and one of the UK’s stand-out stand-up comedians. Known for his one-liners involving puns delivered in a deadpan and slightly neurotic style, his loud shirts and wild hair… and his sublimely surreal takes on the world. “I was walking along the other day and on the road I saw a small dead baby ghost. Although, thinking about it, it might have been a handkerchief.”

MOCK THE WEEK can be a hard show to do. It’s always seven people trying to fit through a door for two he said in a recent interview. But his advantage is his style. “Yes I win. I do short bits. I get in, chuck a grenade and get out quickly.” It’s a style The Guardian acknowledged, “No one can touch Jones when he’s in his stride.”

He did a couple of nights at the Soho Theatre in London last week trying out new material for his next tour and signed my sketch with a two-liner.

Drawing: Maddy Anholt

maddy-anholt

English character comedienne extraordinaire Maddy Anholt has had two sell-out shows in the past two years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Following the critically acclaimed, five-star DIARY OF A DATING ADDICT in 2015, Mandy returned with RENT GIRL last year, co-written and directed by Hardee’s Singh Kohli. With thirty fast approaching and facing the Grim Wrinkler, Maddy goes online in DATING ADDICT to find the man of her dreams.

In RENT GIRL she introduces us to a myriad of characters such as Shazza, bastard child of Persia and South London, Belle of Brixton, Princess of Peckham, Queen of Quitters, Dame of Dickheads. Maddy also brought both shows to London. I left this sketch for her at the Museum of Comedy last year and she returned it signed with a nice thank you note.

Drawing: Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen in Two Man Show

two-man-show

Two women look at masculinity and patriarchy in TWO MAN SHOW, the latest hit show  from RashDash’s high octane duo, Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen. Actually it’s three women, Becky Wilkie joins them as the production’s musician. The eighty minute genre-defying sketch exploration of gender, language and humankind played this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, before a sold out month’s residency at London’s Soho Theatre. It won the 2016 Fringe First Award and due to demand will return for another run in early 2017.

The VERY physical theatre uses a combination of performance styles including music and dance to communicate what it means to be a man and a woman. As Abbi says on their website, “I make all the shows with Helen. We always give ourselves the best parts. At the moment we are making shows that are big and messy and angry.” Helen adds, “I couldn’t imagine performing in a RashDash show where I wasn’t a breathless, sweaty mess by the end.” In between all their theatrical turbulence they both found time to sign my sketch at the Soho.

Drawing: Jennifer Byrne and Victoria Falconer-Pritchard in EastEnd Cabaret

East End Cabaret Perverts

“A high-powered Flight of the Concords dipped in acid and drenched in smut,” is how the Crikey (AU) magazine  described EASTEND CABARET performers and professional perverts, Jennifer Byrne and Victoria Falconer-Pritchard.

The globe-trotting, gin-loving, man east-riding, accordion-eluding, multi-award winning could musical comedy duo are known by their stage names, Bernadette Byrne, a European chanteuse of unknown origin and Victor Victoria, a faux-bilateral hermaphrodite, one man/woman band.

On a recent tour Downunder, Theatrereview NZ likened them to a “mutant child of a Victorian circus-locked away in the Pet Shop Boys basement and forced to watch nothing but Eurovision.”

Their utterly raucous, unashamedly risqué, dark,hilarious and dangerously inappropriate show had it’s origins in the iconic East End pub, The George Tavern in 2009, appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe two years later. TimeOut said “They can work an audience like nobody’s business.” Last year they won Best Variety Act at the London Cabaret Awards.
I left this sketch of Bernie and Victy from their 2015 Soho Theatre production PERVERTS at the London Hippodrome where they were performing last month  and it came back, signed with their character names and a little note.

Cabaret Perverts Note

Drawing: Bec Hill

Bec Hill

“I used to think an ocean of soda existed, but it was just a Fanta sea.” Just one of Bec Hill’s zillion one-liners in her show ELLIPSIS, which was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe and at London’s Soho Theatre last year.

The pint-sized Australian born, London based dynamo founded the PUN-RUN with her writing partner Gavin J. Innes, the UK’s only pun-based comedy night. It’s an evening of good old fashioned wordplay that takes place bi-monthly at The Phoenix in London’s Cavendish Square.

“My brother and his friends spend all their time floating out to sea. Well, boys will be buoys.” Another one-liner.

The Scotsman called her “exuberant, daft and inventive.” She calls herself “Comedian. Presenter. Dork.” on her website.

Bec’s cult following in Oz, UK and Ireland is due to her award-winning solo shows, Twitter presence and YouTube videos, including delightful low tech animation. She also hosts Sky’s DC FANCAST and is seen on CBBC’s MY DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK. Bec won a golden toilet seat for the nation’s favourite toilet joke.” For Christmas last year I got given Sudoku toilet paper. It’s useless. You can only fill it with number ones and number twos.”

She returned to the Soho this month with her latest show CAUGHT ON TAPE and signed my sketch, incorporating a toon  from her DINOSAUR vid. She decided to sign with a black sharpie, although obviously she had a few colours to choose from.

Drawing: Samuel James as Screaming Lord Sutch in Monster Raving Loony

Samuel James

“Vote for insanity – you know it makes sense”.

This was the slogan for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, lead by its flamboyant founder David ‘Screaming Lord’ Sutch. The former rocker-turned serial parliamentary candidate became a British political institution. For over three decades he stood in every parliamentary election, becoming the staple of election night entertainment and a reliable eccentric political presence. Sutch’s unique contribution includes holding the record for losing all 39 elections he entered. He came within 200 votes of getting his deposit back once, which was considered a minor victory.

James Graham’s new play MONSTER RAVING LOONY premiered at The Drum Theatre Royal Plymouth in February, transferring to London’s Soho Theatre this month. It is described as the moving journey through the life and political exploits of ‘Screaming Lord Sutch’, while examining the state of the nation and Britain’s post-war identity crisis.

While the public saw the good Lord’s  exuberant fun-loving ‘loony’ face with his famous manic grin, his private face was completely the opposite. Sutch suffered from depression and hung himself in 1999 at the age of 58. Many political figures paid their respects, including the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who acknowledged that elections would never be quite the same without him.

Samuel James, known for CASULTY, EASTENDERS and currently BIRDS OF A FEATHER reprises his critically acclaimed role as the loony Lord. In his Guardian review, Andrew Dickson wrote, “Samuel James offers a barnstorming performance, all strutting gait and eye-popping leer,” clad in His Lordship’s signature undertakers top hat and leopard-print jacket.

I left this sketch at the Soho for the ‘Signing Lord Samuel’ to graph, which he duly did. He gets my vote! MONSTER RAVING LOONY runs until 18 June.

Drawing: Sophie Rose in Quiet Violence

Sophie Rose

“I’m kissing you because it’s easier than explaining why I don’t want to.”

A line from QUIET VIOLENCE, the debut solo show written and performed by Sophie Rose who was part of the Soho Theatre’s Young Company (SYC). It’s a humorous and poignant look at our self-destructive patterns, a spoken word comedy show about the small things that we do to make life harder for ourselves and gets us into situations we don’t like. It’s a “Fast, physical and full of anarchic poetry, shards of life collide in this powerful story of punishment and rescue.” And it’s all set on a inflatable sofa, “so it’s quite fun,” Sophie said.

After touring the show, including the Edinburgh Fringe, Sophie returned to the Soho with QUIET VIOLENCE last month as part of the Soho Rising series, and signed my sketch of her on the inflatable sofa, which was quite fun.