Keira Knightley has received mixed reviews from critics following her West End debut in a modern take on Moliere’’s The Misanthrope.
The production, which opened at London’’s Comedy Theatre, also stars Damian Lewis and Tara Fitzgerald.
The play is directed by Thea Sharrock and adapted by playwright Martin Crimp.
Earlier this week the Pirates of the Caribbean star had said she did not expect great reviews on her first ever professional appearance on the stage.
And this is almost what seems to have happened.
“In the early scenes, Knightley seems a touch tentative, lacking in both energy and presence. In the second half however, in which she bitchily insults a false friend and has a real humdinger of a row with the jealous Alceste, she reveals both power and poignancym,” the BBC quoted Charles Spencer from the Daily Telegraph, as saying.
Spencer added: “She also makes you realise why Damian Lewis’’s splendid Alceste is so obsessed with the movie star, even though she represents everything he despises. There is a mystery to Knightley’’s allure, and an endearing streak of mischief in her portrayal of the actress.
“This stinging, zinging play would be a hit without Knightley. With her, it becomes unmissable.”
Benedict Nightingale wrote in the Times: “Keira Knightley catches the waywardness, occasionally the steel behind the velvety manner, the narcissistic love of attention, but not the authority to explain how she can dominate a gathering by more than beauty. Partly the reason is physical. She’’s so wispy she could fit into an umbrella stand. Partly it’’s a want of vox, partly a lack of the assurance that more time on stage may bring her.”
“As for Lewis, he’’s the fierce obsessive, the pale-faced absolutist happiest when denouncing triviality, hypocrisy and a human race he wishes was extinct,” Nightingale added.
“Can Keira Knightley cut it? That is the first question prompted by this revival of Martin Crimp’’s updated version of Molière’’s play. Since she’’s playing a movie star in her 20s, one could say that she is not unduly stretched,” Michael Billington wrote in the Guardian.
“But Knightley brings to the role fine, sculpted features, palpable intelligence and a nice mix of faux-innocence and flirtiness. Even if she doesn”t always know what to do with her hands, she gives a perfectly creditable performance,” he added.
Keira Knightley’’s West End debut gets mixed response