Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles have earned mixed reviews from Broadway theater critics with their revival of David Mamet's play Oleanna.
The show, about the power struggle between a university professor and his female student, opened in New York on Sunday night (11Oct09) to a lukewarm response, with Stiles being criticized for her lack of emotion.
The New York Post writes, "Stiles - raw and intense, her mouth compressed into a grim line - barely reins in what you suspect are pools of anger," while Daily Variety says of her performance: "Stiles has a tendency toward sulkiness that doesn't do much to soften her impossible character."
Pullman fairs better with theater experts, who have hailed his portrayal of lecturer John.
Bloomberg.com says, "The revival does profit here from good performances and apt direction. Pullman is an expert at good-natured masculinity turning ugly when sorely beleaguered..."
Daily Variety adds, "Pullman is a far more emotionally available actor... (His) body language is transfixing."
However, the Associated Press notes the complexity of Mamet's work and credits the actors for their efforts: "Oleanna is a fiendishly difficult play to pull off, but Pullman and Stiles, under the precise, careful direction of Doug Hughes, make the most of Mamet's seemingly imprecise language."
Oleanna is not the only big-name Broadway production to face criticism this autumn (09) - Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig's turn in A Steady Rain has been largely panned by theater reviewers, while Jude Law's Hamlet split critics in their opinion.