Six years ago British actor Jeremy Irvine was playing a tree in David Greig’s RSC production of DUNSINANE at Hampstead theatre, before he was plucked from ‘the forest of obscurity’ to play the lead role in Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaption of the epic WAR HORSE.
Jeremy was about to give up acting, finding work was difficult and a career change was on the cards. He had never been in a film before, but learnt to ride, gained 14lb of muscle and learnt the Devonshire accent for two months of auditions. The legendary director wanted a newcomer to play the role of Albert. “I saw hundreds of actors, but no one had the heart, the spirit and the communication skills that Jeremy had,” he said.
Late last year he returned to the London boards as Vince in Sam Shepard’s American gothic play BURIED CHILD at the Trafalgar Studios, alongside Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. I caught up with him in after a Saturday evening performance in December and he signed my drawing for me.
This is the second drawing Ed Harris signed for me at the Trafalgar Studios where he appears as Dodge, the whiskey-soaked patriarch of a dysfunctional family in Sam Shepard’s American gothic play BURIED CHILD. His performance has garnered excellent reviews with the guardian’s Michael Billington calling it, “utterly compelling.”
Ed signed my sketch just before Christmas and the production has been extended until early March this year.
Both Amy Madigan and her husband Ed Harris are making their London stage debuts in Sam Shepard’s celebrated play BURIED CHILD at the Trafalgar Studios. Sam Elliot’s revival transferred from a two month run at New York’s Pershing Square Signature Theatre. Amy plays Hallie, the psychologically troubled matriarch of a dysfunctional family which the Guardian’s Michael Billington described as “deftly mixing self-delusion with downright flirtiness.”
Amy received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination in 1985 for TWICE IN A LIFETIME and won a Golden Globe for her portrayal as Sarah Weddington in the 1989 TV film ROE vs WADE.
I meet the very approachable and friendly couple after an evening performance just before Christmas and they were happy to sign my drawings.
British actress Charlotte Hope is ‘having a bit of a moment’ as they say in the business. The ‘moment’ has lasted four years and continues. The Oxford graduate made her film debut as part of the factory ensemble in LES MISERABLES in 2012 and then went on to play Myranda in the mega-hit TV series GAME OF THRONES and Stephen Hawking’s younger sister Philippa in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING amongst her impressive recent resume. She is currently in the West End playing Shelly in Sam Shepard’s BURIED CHILD alongside Ed Harris, which I sketched and she signed last week at the Trafalgar Studios stage door.
Sixty-six year old veteran actor Ed Harris has made his London stage debut in Sam Shephard’s 1978 Pulitzer Prize winning weird-as-hell family drama BURIED CHILD at the Trafalgar Studios after its successful New York run earlier this year. Directed by Scott Elliot, this ‘impressively unsettling revival’ opened last night for a 14 week engagement.
While he known for his large body of screen work, resulting in multiple Oscar nominations and winning a Golden Globe and SAG awards, Ed began his acting career on the stage. In 1986 he received a Best Actor Tony nomination for his performance in George Furth’s PRECIOUS SONS.
Ed plays Dodge, a septuagenarian Illinois patriarch wedded to his sofa. In his Guardian review Michael Billington called the production “brutally compelling” and “Harris’s impressive as a whiskey-soaked old wreck in Shepard’s gothic story of loveless inertia and poisonous guilt in a dysfunctional family.” He is joined on stage by his wife Amy Madigan. Ed signed my sketch at the stage door during previews a couple of weeks ago.
In May this year, Jesse Eisenberg’s dark comedy THE SPOILS transferred from its New York premiere run to London’s Trafalgar Studios for a three month season. Not all the original cast ventured to the West End, but joining Jesse and THE BIG BANG THEORY’s Kunal Nayyar was Annapurna Sriram who played Reshma, Kunal’s pushy medical student girlfriend. Annapurna, or Anna or AP as she is often called, explained the reason for reprising her role. “Reshma is something I am really proud of – that’s my role, my baby. I didn’t like the idea of someone else doing it.” It’s her second visit to London, having spent time at The Globe studying Shakespeare after competing her Arts Degree from Rutgers University.
She came to prominence in the 2015 supernatural horror series SOUTH OF HELL and more recently as Tara Mohr, the hard-partying employee of US Attorney Chuck Rhodes played by Paul Giamatti in the Showtime hit TV series BILLIONS.
Brooklyn-based Annapurna is Indian-American, which she said has helped her acting career. “We’re in a day and age where being ethnically ambiguous – which is what I am – is a commodity”. I meet the very amiable Anna at the Trafalgar Studio’s stage door a couple of weeks before the play finished in mid-August, where she took a photo of my drawing then signed it for me.
Jesse Eisenberg’s third play, THE SPOILS explores the questions of privilege and the value of family and relationships. The off-Broadway transfer to London’s Trafalgar Studios opened this month to critical acclaim. Jesse, Kunal Nayyar and Annapurna Sriram reprised their roles from the original New York production, joined by Londoners, Alfie Allen and Katie Brayben.
Jesse’s breakthrough performance as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in the 2010 film THE SOCIAL NETWORK saw him nominated for a Golden Globe, the BAFTA and an Academy Award. Kunal is best known as Raj Koothrappali in the CBS hit BIG BANG THEORY. Last year Forbes listed him as the third highest paid TV actor. Alfie plays Theon Greyjoy in the hugely popular GAME OF THRONES and Katie won the Oliver Award for her betrayal of Carole King in BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL. Brooklyn-based Annapurna was recently seen as host Nicky Tomalin in the sci-fi podcast THE MESSAGE which reached Number 1 on the iTunes Charts.
Jesse signed a sketch for me during rehearsals. This is another drawing of all five cast members, who all arrived at once on Saturday prior to the matinee. It was a bit like London buses, none for a while then five arrived at once, but they kindly took their turn to sign it for me.
Liam Borrett’s award-winning debut play THIS IS LIVING is a poignant study of what it means to say goodbye. I was lucky enough to say hello to the very affable Michael Socha last week as he retuned to the stage for the first time in eight years. After a sold-out run at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival the play has transferred to the Trafalgar Studios in the West End. Michael who appropriately plays Michael is joined by Tamla Kari as his wife Alice on a waterlogged stage which mirrors the lake in which she has drowned 12 hours earlier. The couple spend two hours on the bleak, soggy environment delivering one of the unmissable productions of the year. The conversations between Michael and the ‘unquietly deceased’ Alice explore the grieving process that manages to both break your heart and fill it with joy simultaneously.
Both Actors are best known for their screen work. Michael as the bully Harvey in the hit film THIS IS ENGLAND and its subsequent spin off TV series and the E4 drama THE ALIENS, and Tamla as Constance Bonacieux in the swashbuckling THE MUSKETEERS and in both THE INBETWEENER films. Both Michael and Tamla appear in the supernatural drama BEING HUMAN.
Michael signed my drawing but I wasn’t able to wait for Tamla on my first visit, so on Saturday I returned to the stage door to complete the task. I had previously met Tamla when she was appearing in VERSAILLES at the Donmar Warehouse a couple of years ago and she signed a sketch for me then. After the matinee Michael popped out to get his sushi and was his usual friendly self, chatting with fans when he not only noticed me but remembered me from the week earlier. I must get rid of the ‘stalker’ tag sharpied on my forehead. He wasn’t sure if Tamla was coming out, so kindly took the sketch to her and retuned with it signed. Top notch actor and even better bloke.
THIS IS LIVING.
This was the other sketch Jenny Seagrove signed for me a couple of weeks ago as she arrived at the Theatre Royal Haymarket where she is currently appearing in Alan Ayckbourn’s HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES.
It’s from Agatha Christie’s mother-daughter drama A DAUGHTER’S A DAUGHTER, which had its West End debut at the Trafalgar Studios in December 2009. It was penned under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, which Agatha Christie used for a series of six romantic novels between 1930 – 1956. It is very different to her other stage work and is considered a more personal play than anything else.
Jenny played Ann, a widow, whose only daughter Sarah (played by Honeysuckle Weeks – not a name you could forget) returns home after the Second World War. Resentment and jealously rages as gradually their relationship corrodes. I drew a quick biro sketch of Jenny and Honeysuckle, which they both signed for me in early 2010, at the end of the run. This is a more detailed study of Jenny in her role and a superimposed portrait with my trusty 4B pencil.
Boris Johnson’s eight year term as London’s Mayor ended last week, but at the Trafalgar Studios he has assumed the mantle, ‘World King”… well at least for 80 minutes, (no interval) in the smash hit play, BORIS: WORLD KING.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is one of the most controversial figures in British politics and journalism, ideal for a bit of satire. After a sell out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the production relocated for a four-week transfer at the West End venue. Impressions master David Benson plays the bumbling Boris and Alice McCarthy is his long-suffering assistant Helen.
“Buffoonery conceals the dark heart of the London mayor in Tom Crawshaw’s mischievous and unsettling Boris-bio,” wrote Stewart Pringle in his four-star review for the The Stage.
David and Alice signed my sketch at the Trafalgar Studios last week. The play finished on Saturday. Boris may last a little longer.