Broadway
Starring Christopher Plummer
Gene Saks, Director
Sydney Opera House
Starring Barry Otto
Judy Davis, Director
Dublin Theater Festival
Starring Tom Conti
Bryan Forbes, Director




“A dazzler of a drunk, full of gab and grief. Fiendishly entertaining and blisteringly sad. Christopher Plummer gives an achingly funny, memorably strong and debonair performance. Be grateful to William Luce, a specialist in biographical dramas (including The Belle of Amherst); he has provided Plummer with the chance to create a portrait of riveting complexity and paradox that finds balletic elegance in a drunken stagger, poetry in a blue joke and churning guts in rarified verse. As fluid, stinging and warming as a Manhattan cocktail.”
- The New York Times


“Fascinating and triumphant. Smartly directed by Gene Saks, and graced with a bewitchingly evocative set by Santo Loquasto, William Luce’s fascinating bio-drama, like his earlier Emily Dickinson excursion, is an efficient, careful piece of work. It covers all the bases, making all the right noises – the wives, the women, the drink, the glory, the notoriety, the profanity. Christopher Plummer is nothing short of sensational.”
- New York Post


“Playwright William Luce is a master of the solo portrait. This is a rare show that leaves you wanting more.”
- Gannett Newspapers


“As delightful a drunk as you’re likely to meet - a gourmand, serving up Luce’s script as though it were great tubs of caviar.”
- Toronto Sun


“It’s a great piece of theater, working from a canny script by William Luce, paced by the silky staging of director Gene Saks. A grand and glorious acting treat. Big, open, technically brilliant and emotionally true, it is work of a very high, very rare caliber. Plummer is always convincing as the complex and tragic figure that William Luce has fashioned. ”
- Chicago Tribune


“Christopher Plummer’s rich, unmiked voice hits every note of sarcasm and self-loathing in William Luce’s rambunctious script (which is as good as one-man shows get), as he perfectly captures the grief behind the old ham’s gallant frivolity. A big, juicy triumph, well directed by Gene Saks.”
- The New Yorker


“This is delicious stuff.”
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review




“Judy Davis in her debut as director displays a confident and deft hand. Barry Otto’s Barrymore is a tour de force. Luce’s play is a gorgeous piece of writing, beautifully structured, poetic and undulating, sure-handed and authoritative.”
- The Daily Telegraph


“Luce’s script is Broadway-smart, full of one-liners, anecdotes and sudden moments of downbeat pathos. Judy Davis’s production is rigorously unsentimental. Otto gives a virtuoso performance.”
- The Australian


“That this is Judy Davis’s directing debut has attracted as much publicity as the play. Under her direction, this work moves freely, unsentimentally and seemingly effortlessly to its conclusion. As Broadway’s Clown Prince, Otto is a wonderful sight to see, his black velvet Richard III hunch weighing him down as he cavorts to the strains of ‘You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby.’”
- The Sunday Telegraph


“In her debut as a director, Judy Davis adds flashy theatrical and attentive touches to Luce’s play, drawing out a complex performance which delights in Barrymore’s paradoxes and boulevardier charms. Davis’s direction is unobtrusive and thoughtful as she underscores the cracks in the mirror of the carousing charmer. The mad jumble of memories ignites the air. In my view, Barrymore is a jewel in the hands of Davis and, more tellingly, in the passionate grip of Otto, one of our most consistently mesmerising stars. William Luce’s work is vivid, fun and intimate.”
- The Sydney Morning Herald




“Tom Conti oozes charm in his performance as Barrymore in William Luce’s intelligently-balanced script. Conti’s performance is dazzling in its timing and varied nuances. It is a piece written and played for pure elegance and pleasure. Conti, under the direction of Bryan Forbes, provides these in generous measure.”
- Sunday Independent


“You need only one reason to see this one-man play: Tom Conti. He has enough presence to mesmerise the back rows of the Tivoli, and a comic flair to roll ‘em in the aisles. As the great John Barrymore, he talks of his misadventures through William Luce’s hilarious script.”
- The Irish Times


“He came. He saw. He conquered. Tom Conti’s performance in William Luce’s brilliant play about hellraiser John Barrymore is quite simply a stellar performance in this most exquisitely written and hilarious comedy.”
- Irish Examiner