Press the nostalgia button and head for the cuttings file: there's another comeback on the horizon. Once the province of stars who had long since left the limelight, comebacks have now become two a penny. The 1980s nurtured nostalgia and became the decade of cultural homesickness with publicists trumpeting the 'eagerly anticipated' return of those who had barely been away.

Tonight, however, sees the return of the genuinely missed Nicol Williamson (right). After 15 years, he is back with Jack - A Night on the Town with John Barrymore at the Criterion Theatre.

Even without his impressive array of awards for performances both here and on Broadway, his previous portrayal of the rabble-rousing Barrymore in Paul (Addams Family Values) Rudnick's I Hate Hamlet, was enough to put him in the legend league. One night, in a scene where he was teaching swaggering and swordplay to a young actor, Williamson re-wrote the script, telling him to 'Use your head. Give it more life'. Then, adding injury to insult, instead of nicking him with his sword, Williamson thwacked him across the buttocks. Unsurprisingly, the other actor walked off. Williamson is reputed to have turned to the audience and suggested a song.

Producer Sally Greene got the song - Nessun dorma - sung down the phone when she was negotiating his nine-week season. Whatever it is that audiences get, it will certainly be passionate.

(Photograph omitted)

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