New York theater critics extended a chilly hand to HBO's Six Feet Under star Peter Krause, who opened on Thursday night in a Broadway revival of the Arthur Miller drama After the Fall.
"Painfully miscast," wails the Daily News' Howard Kissel, who considers the play a mess made only "messier" by Krause.
"Mr. Krause leads the audience though his character's life like a dutiful but bored student guide in a museum," writes The New York Times' Ben Brantley. "This is not a winning attitude to bring to Mr. Miller's 1964 drama of moral disillusionment, a play that is essentially one man's cosmic yelp."
Miller's autobiographical drama, which follows the travails of a rueful lawyer named Quentin, is probably most famous for its thinly veiled character based on Miller's ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe – who had died only a year and a half before the premiere of the original production. The play rarely receives good reviews.
Carla Gugino plays Maggie, the Monroe figure, "a sweetly naive switchboard operator turned pill-gobbling pop singer and – you guessed it – castrating bitch," writes Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout in Friday's editions.
Teachout goes on to say that the revival "ranks right up there with Bombay Dreams on my list of unbearable clunkers of 2004," and refers to Krause as "another Broadway debutant who bears an uncanny resemblance to Greg Marmalard, the smooth-faced, toadying frat boy of Animal House."
Burying the show one better, the New York Post pretty much sums up everything in the headline over Clive Barnes's review: "'After Fall' can't get up."