Drawing: Toby Stephens and Lydia Leonard in Oslo

Autographed drawing of Lydia Leonard and Toby Stephens in "Oslo" at the Harold Pinter Theatre on London's West End

OSLO tells the story of two maverick Norwegian diplomats who coordinated top secret talks that inspired seemingly impossible friendships leading to the groundbreaking Oslo Peace accords in 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the State of Israel. JT Rogers play opened last year at the Lincoln Centre in New York, winning the Tony Award. The London production opened at the National Theatre for a brief and sold out run before transferring to the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End. Toby Stephens plays Terje Rod-Larsen and Lydia Leonard, his wife Mona Juul, the Norwegian diplomats who orchestrated the Peace accord between Yitzhak Rabin and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat. Both Toby and Lydia signed my sketch a couple of weeks ago at the Pinter stage door.


Drawing: Toby Stephens and Anna-Louise Plowman in Private Lives at the Gielgud Theatre

Toby Stephens and Anna Louise Plowman

Husband and wife team Toby Stephens and Anna-Louise Plowman appeared in Noël Coward’s classic comedy Private Lives at the Gielgud Theatre in July 2013.

A married couple playing a married couple; the line between reality and fiction becomes blurred and hard to define – a bit of ‘dramatic ambiguity’. It was the second time they played newly-weds Elyot and Sybil after a successful run at Chichester the previous Autumn. The entire cast, including Anna Chancellor and Anthony Calf, transferred to the West End.

Coward’s tale is of former lovers Elyot and Amanda who meet five years after their divorce while both on honeymoon with new amours. Reignited passion follows. Toby’s parents Dame Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens previously starred in a John Gielgud directed production of the same play, alongside Anthony’s mother-in-law Polly Adams.

Toby and Anna-Louise both co-produced the London transfer and both happily signed my sketch the stage door on an autumnal evening in September 2013.

Drawing: Toby Stephens and Hattie Morahan in The Real Thing at The Old Vic Theatre

The Real Thing 1

Anna Mackmin’s revival of Tom Stoppard’s 1982 post modern comedy The Real Thing was staged at the Old Vic in the spring of 2010. Described as the play within a play within a play as a study of bourgeois adultery. It is about the acquisition of self-knowledge through pain. Henry (Toby Stephens) s a successful, elitist playwright who abandons his wife to live with the exuberant Annie (Hattie Morahan) only to find himself the victim of deception.

Reviews for the production were glowing with critics agreeing that the acting of Toby and Hattie was superb.

The Real Thing 2

Drawing: Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens in Private Lives

private lives001

Following a sell-out run at the Chichester Festival Theatre, this critically acclaimed revival of Noël Coward’s Private Lives transferred to West End’s Gilegud Theatre for a limited season until 21 September 2013.

Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor take the lead roles, as glamorous divorcées Elyot and Amanda whose love for one another is unexpectedly rekindled when they take adjoining suites for a French hotel while honey mooning with their new spouses five years later, played by Anthony Calf and Anna-Louise Plowman (Toby’s real life wife).

The original production in 1930 was heavily censored for being too risque. Critics appear united in their reviews of the 2013 version.

“Jonathan Kent’s production of Coward’s masterpiece is the best in a decade” (The Independent).

“Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor give the most scorchingly sexy, intensely connected performances in London” (Mail on Sunday)

Both Anna and Toby kindly signed my sketch at the stage door this week.