THEATRE: CURTAIN CALLS

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He made his Old Vic debut as Peter Shirley in Major Barbara in 1956 and returned in 1963 to play Hamlet in the inaugural production by the National Theatre, then housed in the Vic. It was in the same theatre that he made his notoriously ill-fated stab at the title role in Macbeth - the reviews were memorably ghastly - but, undeterred, he's back on the stage again. The man in question? Come on down, the former (second) Mr Sian Philips, ex-Lawrence of Arabia, Peter O'Toole (above).

The vehicle for his latest Old Vic comeback is Keith Waterhouse's Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell - which is something of a comeback in itself, as O'Toole created the role a decade ago.

Back then, the title was a little less ironic. Bernard, who made being a lush into an artform, is no longer with us. Unwell? Something of an understatement I feel.

Previews from 27 Jul, Old Vic, London SE1 (0171-494 5491)

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