The Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s time-twisting drama “Betrayal,” starring real-life wedded duo Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, officially opened Sunday night at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
The 1978 drama is staged by Mike Nichols, the legendary 10-time Tony winner, and is on Broadway for a 14-week run only. In the play, Emma (Weisz) is married to Robert (Craig), a publisher, but she’s had a longtime affair with Jerry (Rafe Spall, “Life of Pi”), a literary agent and Robert’s best friend.
The story, famously, is told from end to beginning.
Craig, whose most recent 007 adventure “Skyfall” was the first Bond film to cross the $1 billion mark worldwide, last appeared on Broadway in “A Steady Rain.” “Betrayal” is Weisz’s Broadway debut. The reviews are in, and here's what some of the top critics had to say.
Ben Brantley: The New York Times: “This is a sexed-up ‘Betrayal,’ which is not the same as a sexy ‘Betrayal.’ … It’s possible that Mr. Nichols wanted to revitalize a much-performed classic by introducing some of the sexual cynicism and contempt for men as the lout of the species that characterized his 1971 ‘Carnal Knowledge.’ But as in that movie, it’s hard to care what happens to these rambunctious, thick-skinned souls. …This ‘Betrayal’ shrivels Pinter’s play to the dimensions of the minor tale of infidelity that London critics called it when the show first opened in 1978.”
Linda Winer, Newsday: “Craig … is far more than Bond, James Bond. He begins with a dapper, sardonic edge and lets us watch that famous granite profile crumble. Weisz is commanding and grand fun to watch as the gallery owner/mother with a life on the side, though this Emma feels more clingy than the one Pinter wrote. Spall is less an obvious seducer than a puppy with teeth as Jerry, the married book agent, who, in this version, at times seems almost as attracted to the husband as to the wife.”
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: “Mike Nichols adds more spirits than even Pinter's script suggested, a way the master craftsman can connect the scenes and explain the stiff-upper-lip repression on the stage. Liquor is the lubrication that keeps each participant from going on a table-flipping screaming rant or utterly collapsing. … This production is also shot through with humor -- dark, perhaps, but very present. Much of it comes from the peculiar calmness of all three main actors, who all love each other so much that they can't stop hurting each other.”
David Cote, The Guardian: “Mike Nichols and his cast get so much wrong in the Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal,’ let's start with what goes right. It's a handsome physical production, with large, well-appointed interiors … The compact, rugged Craig hasn't shrunken from years behind the camera: he projects himself fully and muscularly to the back stalls. And he's not emoting in a vacuum: Weisz and Spall have charisma to spare, not to mention keen sexual chemistry for their Kilburn flat trysts. … It’s simply that nobody gets the tone.”
Jeremy Gerard, Businessweek: “Daniel Craig, his wife, Rachel Weisz, and Rafe Spall are superb … Nichols has calibrated each of those 100 minutes to strike a nerve. You quickly forget you’re watching capital-S Stars. The show has more urgency than the Broadway original or the very good 1983 film. I wish the tickets didn’t require a second mortgage and the audience weren’t restricted to the very wealthy or the very lucky. But this production will stay with me as few others.”
“Betrayal,” through Jan. 5 at the Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. Tickets: $57-$152. Call 212-239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com.
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