Madonna Disappoints London Critics
Sting, Donatella Versace, Stella McCartney and the star's husband, Guy Ritchie, gave Madonna, 43, a standing ovation at the conclusion of her opening night performance in the comedy "Up for Grabs" in London Thursday night -- but Friday brought with it far less enthusiasm from critics. Summed up BBC News Online reviewer Neil Smith: "Dame Judi Dench has nothing to worry about." Others voiced similar sentiments about Madonna's first stage role in 14 years (since David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" on Broadway) and her first time ever on a British stage. "Despite the crowds and cameras outside the theatre last night, and the callow whoops that greeted the actress when the curtain rose," Benedict Nightingale writes in the Daily Telegraph, "'Up for Grabs' isn't 'The Madonna Show.'" The Guardian declared that "Madonna fails to shine" as the aggressive art dealer at the center of the comedy, by Australian playwright David Williamson, while the Independent stated, "Mechanical Girl distorts the message of soft-centered satire." Yet not all the notices were completely unfriendly. Writing in The Times, critic Charles Spencer opines, "What's scary about Madonna is the way she has finessed a real but hardly monumental talent to such an inflated level of stardom." Of her performance, he goes on to say, "Madonna is often funny, and sometimes vulnerable and touching. She looks terrific, comes over as a far more appealing personality than I expected, and is a dab hand at comically kinky sex scenes." Producers have said the show is sold out.
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