For which I got warmly thanked by Williamson. After two-and-a-quarter hours of bravura performance - the play, which he co-wrote, is uneven, but the acting is sensational, every mood, rage and stupor in the book - the star duly took his bow. Applause was as rapturous as it can be when the dress circle is closed, the stalls are only half full and the youngest person present is me. We clapped until Williamson motioned us to stop. This was his last day with Jack and he wanted to chat.
'It was princely of you all to come in here on such a hot afternoon,' he started, 'and you've been a great audience.' We glowed. Were there any Yanks present? Several hands went up in affirmation. Being a half-Yank himself he wasn't surprised. And then he was off, on a spiel as impassioned as anything in the play. After all this time in America he hadn't known what to expect from the British press, but Bernard Levin (who devoted his Times column to a eulogy of Jack) had shown them. John Barrymore was a genius. 'Sure he was self-destructive, but d'you know something? He never complained.' Theatre was important. 'You've got to have it] You've got to fucking have it]'
It wasn't necessarily the end of Jack - Williamson hopes to take him to Broadway in the autumn. Otherwise, he has no plans: he doesn't even have an agent at the moment. Nice seeing you, Nicol.Reuse content