note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Beverly Creasey
Jerry Robbins has one of those voices which sounds most at home when delivering Shakespeare. (Laurence Olivier was a grand master of the Shakespearean growl... And remember Richard Burton's classical growl?) A voice like that gives you goosebumps --- so you won't be surprised to hear that Jerry Robbins and his melifluous voice is "Barrymore" in the nifty Lyric West' production of William Luce's (practically) one-man show about the Great Profile, John Barrymore.
Robbuins caroms about the stage regaling us with naughty vaudeville turns, dishing with his prompter (the disembodied Drew DeCorleto) about his many wives, and drinking himself into a Shakesearean stupor --- but not before he tosses off some impressive Hamlet --- all mixed in with Richasrd III.
Director Joe Zamparelli, Jr. has Robbins go for the jugular, allowing us to see behind the bravado. It's tricky business pulling off a familiar figure --- trickier still one who was renown for his ACTING ability.
Robbins is Barrymore right from the getgo. He even looks like theversion of Barrymore we remember from films like "Dinner at Eight". Robbins fills the large Lyric West space with a combination of ego and regret --- although he protests that he has no regrets. Kudos to Jito Lee for the dusty old backstage set and for the cocked hat which perches jauntilyn over the signature pencil-thin mustache and noble profile. Zamparelli and company make Luce's script sing, in all the touching spots, and zing in the riotous moments.