Michelle Williams gets mixed reviews in Broadway revival of Cabaret

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image captionWilliams and Cumming (centre) take their bows on Thursday with the rest of the Cabaret cast

Michelle Williams is far from the toast of Broadway, following the opening night of a New York revival of Cabaret.

According to one review, the Brokeback Mountain actress "lacks desperation and edge" as Sally Bowles, the Berlin-based nightclub performer famously played by Liza Minnelli in the 1972 film.

Variety's critic said it was "obvious" she was not "comfortable" in film director Sam Mendes' stage production.

Yet the reviews are unanimous in their praise of her co-star, Alan Cumming.

According to The Guardian, he gives "one of the great stage performances of all time" as the "Emcee" of the Kit Kat Klub, around which the musical's action revolves.

Cumming first played the role at London's Donmar Warehouse in Mendes' original 1993 production, with Jane Horrocks as Sally Bowles.

The Scottish actor went on to reprise his performance when the show moved to Broadway in 1998, winning a Tony for his work alongside the late Natasha Richardson.

According to Variety's Marilyn Stasio, Cumming makes "a triumphant return" in the Roundabout Theatre Company production, at the Studio 54 theatre on Broadway.

"It seems like Alan Cumming... is out to atone for ever having deviated from the role of a lifetime," agreed The Independent's Tom Teodorczuk.

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image captionJohnny Depp and his fiancee Amber Heard were among the first night audience

"Who can begrudge Mr Cumming's still having such a good time in the part that made him a star?" asks Ben Brantley in the New York Times.

In contrast, he writes, Williams "doesn't look all that happy" despite coping "just fine with her musical chores".

Other critics have been kinder to the My Week with Marilyn star, with USA Today calling her performance "a star turn that... is truly unmissable".

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, describes her as "shattering" and calls her rendition of the musical's title song "a gut punch of emotional wreckage".

Set in Berlin in the 1930s, Cabaret originally opened on Broadway in 1966 and features songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb.

Based on Christopher Isherwood's book Goodbye to Berlin, the musical explores a young writer's relationship with Sally as the Nazis rise to power.

Williams, who took on the Sally role after Emma Stone withdrew from the production last year, has been nominated for three Oscars, for Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine and My Week with Marilyn respectively.

Cumming can currently be seen as political fixer Eli Gold in US legal drama The Good Wife, a role for which he has been Emmy-nominated twice.

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