The Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s 1978 play Betrayal, starring 007 star Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Rafe Spall, has received widespread critical acclaim in the USA, after opening to the public on Sunday, 27 October.
The showbiz magazine Variety, for example, has termed it ‘an impeccable revival’, and praised Daniel Craig in particular as ‘a movie star who still has his stage legs’. Daniel and his wife Rachel faced a near-riot of enthusiastic photographers and fans as they left the theatre after the opening night.
There has also been high praise for the play from British critics who have attended the preview performances in New York. Tom Teodorczuk, writing for the UK’s Independent newspaper (28 October), said Craig ‘is brilliant’, capturing his character’s ‘menace and vulnerability’, with an ‘assured performance’ that reminds us why he’s a stage natural.
The play, directed by Oscar-winning veteran of stage, Mike Nichols, opened to the general public at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, near Manhatten’s Times Square in New York, after a special set of preview performances, and guest of honour on the opening night was Lady Antonia Fraser, the widow of the late Harold Pinter (who died in 2008).
There was already a ‘buzz’ around the play prior to the public opening, and other members of the TV, film and theatre worlds have been making a special effort to catch the powerful performances of real-life husband and wife team Daniel and Rachel, who play Robert and Emma, a married couple involved in a complex triangle involving adultery and deceit, with Rafe Spall playing Jerry, the other key figure involved in the tale. Emma has been having a seven-year affair with Jerry, who happens to be the best friend of her husband, Robert.
Notable members of the audience in the preview performances have included Oprah Winfrey, Bette Midler, Glen Close and – interestingly – Javier Bardem (who, of course, played Daniel Craig’s adversary in Skyfall).
All performances so far have been sell-out performances, with huge demand at the box-office for tickets. Ticket touts outside the theatre were said to be demanding $2,500 for seats that normally sell for $142. Indeed, media sources estimate the play is making $1 million a week.
As it currently stands, there is not much likelihood of the play transferring over to London’s West End, unless Craig can fit in a limited run there before he embarks on filming his fourth James Bond movie in 2014. However, there have been some suggestions that the show could be filmed and beamed live into cinemas before it officially ends its 14-week run in January, 2014.
After the opening night, Lady Antonia spoke to the London Evening Standard and commented: ‘Daniel Craig said to me that only one thing is missing and that is Harold. I entirely agree’. She added that the cast ‘were fantastic’.