In Theater LaB's Houston premiere of Barrymore, playwright William Luce travels back to 1942, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor stunned and enraged the United States. Famed actor John Barrymore, now entering the twilight of his life, schemes to resurrect his career from its own twilight. His big comeback will be in the form of a reprisal of his starring role in Richard III. Though his return is important to him, he is ever aware of the bigger issues around him: his drinking, his career worries and, moreover, the eve of a world war.
Heavy stuff, sure, but this is a strikingly comedic one-man show, starring Houston's reigning theatrical father figure, Charles Krohn. Director Jimmy Phillips says audiences shouldn't read too much into any similarities between the play's subject matter and current events. "Barrymore was interested in his own demons," he says. "While the play takes place at the outbreak of World War II, I don't think any parallels can be drawn to the current war." At one point, Barrymore does regale the audience with an anecdote on how he and W.C. Fields attempted to enlist with the military's "Home Defense." Thankfully, that's as neopolitical as the story gets. Show opens at 8 p.m. Runs through February 18. 1706 Alamo. For tickets and showtimes, call 713-868-7516 or visit www.theaterlabhouston.com. $20.
Jan. 25-Feb. 18