'Betrayal' with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz: What did the critics think?

'Betrayal' with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz: What did the critics think?
Daniel Craig, left, as Robert, and Rachel Weisz as Emma, in Harold Pinter's "Betrayal, " directed by Mike Nichols, at the Barrymore Theatre in New York. (Brigitte Lacombe / Associated Press)

With seats scarce and ticket prices through the roof, "Betrayal" is one of the most coveted shows on Broadway. The production features real-life couple Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz enacting Harold Pinter's reverse-chronological tale of adultery, directed by Mike Nichols.

"Betrayal," which officially opened Sunday at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York, has already made news for its robust box-office performance. The production has exceeded $1.1 million in ticket sales on a weekly basis during its preview period -- a number more often associated with blockbuster musicals than revivals of plays.

The show has been helped by premium-ticket pricing, which allows producers to charge more for certain seats on popular nights. The top ticket price for "Betrayal" has been $423.


Rounding out the principal cast is Rafe Spall, the rising British actor who is the son of actor Timothy Spall


First performed in 1978, "Betrayal" is often revived throughout the world. A movie version in 1983 featured Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley. On Broadway, the play was most recently produced in 2000, with a cast that included Liev Schreiber, Juliette Binoche and a pre-"Mad Men" John Slattery.


What did critics think of the latest production?

Ben Brantley of the New York Times described it as a "crude and clunky" production that "shrivels Pinter’s play to the dimensions of the minor tale of infidelity." Given the laughter the show provoked, "if you go expecting a rowdy, dirty comedy ... you won’t be disappointed." 

The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney wrote that the central cast members are "at the absolute top of their game." Watching real-life couple Craig and Weisz "explore the unique capacity of a married couple for mutual cruelty adds another fascinating layer." 

Linda Winer of Newsday wrote that Nichols' direction colors the characters in "with robust clarity and broadens the wit to sex-comedy humor." As a result, this may be "the least Pinteresque 'Betrayal' we will ever see."

The Los Angeles Times' Charles McNulty described the revival as "sleek and luxurious as an Aston Martin." Spall gives the most "thrilling" performance in the cast, while Nichols "takes risks with his interpretation but maintains the necessary ambiguity of the situation."