During the 50's Searle
was the illustrator for the theatre review column of British satirical magazine Punch.
'Searle was the first theatre-column illustrator to provide proper caricatures of artistes, and his extenive notes enabled him to show them in attitudes which playgoers would recognize in the production itself'.
(Russell Davies' Ronald Searle)
The theatre critic for Punch was Eric Keown, depicted right in 'snuff taking pose' (Russell Davies) in the book An Experience of Critics, 1952.
"Although he loved the theatre he hated the job. Sitting near Keown and Searle was a theatregoer's nightmare. Keown was a lanky 6'7" and 'the moment he came into the theatre and sat down, people behind him groaned . . . So with one ear I'm listening to what's going on and the other ear is concentrating on the notebook.' Searle also had his 'mono' (small telescope): 'You can't get the detail without it . . .so I had that and I had my sketchbook . . .and my torch . . .and furious people next to me.'
The artist then returned home where he would stay up until three in the morning to finish the drawing before the 9 am deadline."
(Ronald Searle: Graphic Master, Cartoon Museum catalogue, 2010)
Searle recalls: ". . . he was called Eric Keown, we were inseparable, known as Laurel and Hardy, I was the little beard that I'm still, he was 6 feet 8 inches, something like 2.07 meters, no could see anything sitting behind him." -Liberation
Examples of Searle's theatre sketchbooks
17 February 1954 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' (Princes Theatre) - Binnie Hale, Michael Denison & Margaret Rutherford
26 January 1955 'Richard II' (Old Vic) - John Neville & Eric Porter
22 AUGUST 1956 'Measure For Measure' (Stratford) - Emlyn Williams, Margaret Johnston & Alan Badel
20 April 1955 'Twelfth Night'(Stratford) - Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier & Michael Denison
7 September 1955 'The Water Gipsies' (Winter Garden) - Dora Bryan, Pamela Charles & Laurie Payne
20 January 1954 'The Boy Friend' (at Wyndham's Theatre) - Denise Hirst, Joan Sterndale Bennett & Anne Rogers
July 1954 'Troilus and Cressida' (Stratford) - Anthony Quayle, Muriel Pavlow & Laurence Harvey
16 May 1956 'Look Back in Anger' (Royal Court) - Mary Ure & Kenneth Haigh
6 January 1954 'At The Lyric' (Lyric, Hammersmith) - Herione Baddeley, Dora Bryan & Ian Carmichael
Subject: The Winter's Tale (Edinburgh Festival) - John Gielgud, Diana Wynyard & Flora Robson
12 September 1951 'The Winter's Tale' (Edinburgh Festival) - John Gielgud, Diana Wynyard & Flora Robson
16 June 1954 'Joyce Grenfell Requests the Pleasure' - Joyce Grenfell & Beryl Kaye
25 August 1954 'Keep in a Cool Place' (Saville Theatre) - Roger Livesey plays Marcus McLeod
2 June 1954 'The Cherry Orchard' (Lyric, Hammersmith) - Robert Eddison, Esme Percy, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies & Trevor Howard
10 April 1957 'As You Like It' (Stratford) - Peggy Ashcroft, Richard Johnson & Jane Wenham
8 April 1953 'King Richard III' (at the Memorial Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon) - Marius Goring & Harry Andrews
11 March 1953 ' Julius Caesar' (Old Vic) Robin Bailey, Paul Rogers & William Devlin
16 February 1955 'Hamlet' (ADC Cambridge) - Robin Chapman & Nicholas Hamel-Smith
10 August 1955 'King Lear' (Palace Theatre) - John Gielgud
22 September 1954 'No News From Father' (Cambridge) - Bernard Braden, Robin Bailey & Eleanor Summerfield
1 September 1954 'Macbeth' (at the Edinburgh Festival) - Paul Rogers & Ann Todd
10 May 1950 ' Julius Caesar' (Stratford) - John Gielgud, Harry Andrews, Andres Cruickshank & Anthony Quayle
9 November 1955 'The Winter's Tale' (at the Old Vic) - Paul Rogers plays Leontes
9 January 1957 'The Wonderful Lamp' (Palladium) - Pantomime - Norman Wisdom plays Aladdin
9 June 1954 'Cockles and Champagne' (Saville Theatre) - Pierre Dudan, Renee Houston & Miriam Karlin
3 October 1951 'The Tempest' (at the Mermaid Theatre) - Clifford Evans, Bernard Miles & Terry Wale
27 October 1954 ' Joan of Arc at the Stake' - Ingrid Bergman & Valentine Dyall
1950s 'Anthony and Cleopatra' - Michael Redgrave
20 May 1953 The Apple Cart - Noel Coward as King Magnus
7 October 1953 'The Devil's General' - Wilfrid Lawson & Trevor Howard
2 July 1952 Dial 'M' For Murder - Andrew Cruickshank, Jane Baxter, Emrys Jones
20 July 1955 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' - Anthony Quayle
27 July 1955 'Much Ado About Nothing' - John Gielgud & Peggy Ashcroft
10 December 1952 'The Mousetrap' - Richard Attenborough, Martin Miller & Sheila Sim
25 June 1952 'Macbeth' - Sir Ralph Richardson & Margaret Leighton
12 May 1954 'The Dark is Light Enough' (Aldwych) - James Donald, Dame Edith Evans, Margaret Johnston & Hugh Griffith
1950s 'Six Characters in Search of an Author '- Reginald Tate, Mary Morris & Ralph Michael
18 April 1951 King Henry IV Part I (at Stratford) - Harry Andrews & Anthony Quayle
30 September 1953 'All's Well That Ends Well' (at the Old Vic) - Michael Hordern, John Neville & Claire Bloom
6 October 1954 'Saint Joan' - Siobhan McKenna & Kenneth Williams
27 January 1954 'No Other Verdict' (at the Duchess) - Richard Leech, John Arnatt & Elsie Randolph
ILLUSTRATED: PUNCH, 23 MAY 1956, PAGE 634, 'AT THE PLAY' BY ERIC KEOWN,
PEN AND INK 16 X 16 INCHES PROVENANCE: HUGH MILLS (GIVEN TO HIM BY THE ARTIST, PROBABLY IN 1959)
RALPH RICHARDSON AND PAUL SCOFIELD APPEARED TOGETHER IN GRAHAM GREENE'S 'THE COMPLAISANT LOVER' IN 1959
PEN AND INK 14 1/2 X 16 INCHES PROVENANCE: THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM HEWISON
THE CENCI BEATRICE...BARBARA JEFFORD
COUNT CENCI...HUGH GRIFFITH
6 MAY 1959, PAGE 625 SIGNED, INSCRIBED WITH TITLE AND 'PUNCH THEATRE' AND DATED 'MAY 6' PEN AND INK 14 1/2 X 17 INCHES
ILLUSTRATED: PUNCH, 31 AUGUST 1955, PAGE 254
THIS ILLUSTRATED A REVIEW BY ERIC KEOWN OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 'S 'JULIUS CAESAR' BY THE OLD VIC COMPANY AT THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL AND OF OTHER EDINBURGH FESTIVAL PRODUCTIONS. (Chris Beetles)
7 May 1958 'My Fair Lady', Drury Lane. Stanley Holloway as Alfred P. Doolittle, Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins. (Russell Davies)
18 May 1960 Alec Guinness as Lawrence of Arabia and Aircraftman Ross, in the Terence Ratigan play, Ross, about T. E. Lawrence, writer & adventurer, who joined the RAF in 192 under the name of J. H. Ross. (Russell Davies)
Peggy Ashcroft & Peter O' Toole
Charles Laughton as Bottom in 'A Midsummer Nights Dream'
Edith Evans & Dorothy Tutin
Dorothy Tutin in 'The Devils'
All's Well That Ends Well
Troilus & Cressida
Crazy Gang at the Victoria Palace, Charlie Naughton, "Monsewer" Eddie Gray and Bud Flanagan in "Clown Jewels"
signed, inscribed and dated 'Ronald Searle./1959' (lower left) and 'Punch (Feb 11)/[Clown Jewels]/Charlie Naughton/"Monsewer Eddie Gray/Bud Flanagan/Victoria Palace, London' (upper left)
black ink, unframed 15¼ x 16¼ in. (38.8 x 41.3 cm.)
Alec Guiness as Boniface "Hotel Paradiso", Wintergarden Theatre, London, May 1956
signed 'Ronald Searle' (lower right) and inscribed 'Punch theatre/Hotel Paradiso J/Boniface.../ALEC GUINESS/Wintergarden Theatre/May 1956' (upper left)
pen and black ink and grey wash, unframed
15 x 15¼ in. (38.1 x 38.7 cm.)
30 May 1951 Hamlet (at the New Theatre) - Alec Guinness
25 March 1953 ' Titus Andronicus' at Cambridge Arts
29 June 1949 'Othello' at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre - Godfrey Tearle, Diana Wynyard and John Slater
26 July 1950 'The Taming of the Shrew' (Open Air) Antony Eustrel and Ruth Lodge
The Devil's General - Wilfrid Lawson & Trevor Howard 7 October 1953
Albert Finney in the English Stage Company production of Luther in the Empire Theatre 9 August 1961
Philotus (Edinburgh Festival) - Alexander Grant and Susan Dickinson 9 September 1953
The Merry Wives of Windsor (Old Vic) - Paul Rogers and Richard Wordsworth 5 October 1955
'Toad of Toad Hall' - William Squire and Leo McKern 12 January 1955
Romanoff and Juliet (Manchester) - Peter Ustinov 30 May 1956
14 July 1954 original page (as reproduced in 'Punch' magazine) Out of the Blue (Phoenix) - Jonathan Miller and Dermot Hoare
14 December 1955 original page (as reproduced in 'Punch' magazine) Hamlet - Paul Schofield
3 April 1957 Malatesta (Lyric, Hammersmith) - Donald Wolfit
8 May 1957 The Glass Cage (Piccadilly) - Murray Davis and Frank Peddie
30 May 1956 The Moscow State Circus - Oleg Popov
Photographed from the original at
Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Zeichenkunst - Wilhelm Busch
6 August 1952 King Henry VI Part Three - Paul Daneman, Basil Henson and Jack May
27 February 1957 The Master of Santiago (Lyric, Hammersmith) - Donald Wolfit
'Hunters Moon' (Drury Lane) David Gardner as David Rudderman & Lesley Nunnerley as Cynthia.
'Three Sisters' (Sadler's Wells) Alexis Gribov as Chebutikin, Pavel Massalsky as Vershinin & Margarita Yurieva as Masha.
'Lady at the Wheel' (Lyric, Hammersmith) Lucille Mapp as Tuesday, Maggie Fitzgibbon as Jinx Abbott & Bernard Cribbins as Fernando Fernandez.
'The Hostage' (Theatre Royal, Stratford)
11 May 1955 'The Tender Trap' (Saville Theatre) - Geraldine McEwan and Brian Reece
'The classic thriller, The Late Edwina Black, was written by William Dinner and William Morum, and first produced at the Ambassador's Theatre, London in 1949. Set in 1895, the drama concerns a murderess who, out of vindictiveness, devises suicide to incriminate others and destroy them.'
Denholm Elliot as Jan Wicziewsky in 'South' April 6 1955
Geraldine McEwan (Marina) & Richard Johnson (Pericles) in 'Pericles' Stratford Upon Avon,
July 16 1958
'Humpty Dumpty On Ice'
Bill Royston 'King James IV' Stratford-upon-Avon 13th August 1958
oan Greenwood 'Lysistrata' 15th January 1958
'The Trial of Mary Dugan'
'Pericles' 15th July 1958
'South Sea Bubble'
'The Woman on the Stair'
28th January 1959
15 November 1950 MRS INSPECTOR JONES (SAVOY THEATRE) - JESSIE ROYCE LANDIS, BARRY JONES etc
POINT OF DEPARTURE (LYRIC THEATRE HAMMERSMITH) - Dirk Bogarde, Hugh Griffith
Frankie Laine at the Palladium September 16th, 1953
A Doll's House
Aren't We All?
The Confidential Clerk
Le Hero et le Soldat
Jill balcon as Zenoctrate & Donald Wolfit as Tamburlaine in 'Devil's disciple'
'Blue Magic' with Tommy Cooper and Shirley Bassey
25 Feb 1959(Prince of Wales Theatre)'
Punch theatre Sketchbook November 1950
'The Imperial Nightingale'
(Birmingham Repertory Theatre) Punch 22nd January 1958
Kenneth Mackintosh as The Emperor of China
Albert Finney as Bamboo
Photographed from the original at
Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Zeichenkunst - Wilhelm Busch
Long Day's Journey Into Night, Punch 17 September 1958
Alan Bates as Edmund Tyrone
Ian Bannen as James Tyrone
Gwen Frangcon-Davies as Mary Cavan Tyrone
Anthony Quayle as James Tyrone Sr
'The Shadow of Doubt' (Saville theatre, London) Punch 13 july 1955
Raymond Huntley as Manning
John Clements as Arthur
'Joie de Vivre' (Queen's Theatre, London) Punch July 1960
Joanna Rigby as Diana Lake
'The Rose Tattoo'
21 January 1959
'Tartuffe' (Old Vic)
18th February 1959
'A Taste of Honey' (Theatre Royal, Stratford)
11th February 1959
'The Merchant of Venice' (Stratford Festival) 1 April 1953
Michael Redgrave, Peggy Ashcroft & Harry Andrews
Anna Neagle as Queen Victoria (yet again)
18 March 1953
Michael Redgrave 13 May 1953
'Troilus & Cressida' (Stratford) 21 July 1954
Anthony Quayle, Muriel Pavlow & Laurence Harvey
'Time Remembered' 8th Dec. 1954
' Henry V'
'PHEDRE' with JEAN-FRANCOIS CALVE & EDWIGE FEUILLERE 1957
'Saturday Night at the Crown'
'The Bright One'
'The Velvet Shotgun'
'The Duchess of Malfi'
(Aldwych) 28 December 1960
'The Miracle Worker'
(Royalty) 15 March 1961
(Coliseum) 20th October 1954