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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Spacey wins over critics at last
Kevin Spacey as Richard II
Spacey plays the deposed king in Nunn's modern-dress production
Kevin Spacey's first Shakespearean performance in the UK has received positive reviews from the critics.

The Hollywood actor launched his second season as artistic director of London's Old Vic on Tuesday playing Richard II.

"This is the show we've been waiting for since Spacey took over at the Old Vic more than a year ago," wrote the Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer.

The Guardian's critic, meanwhile, said the actor's "fine performance confirms his Shakespearean credentials".

A local power cut during the first act disrupted the show's lighting and resulted in an extended interval.

According to the Times' reviewer, however, "it did nothing to detract from the power source called Spacey".

"Spacey gives an eloquent answer to his critics," wrote Michael Coveney in the Independent.

But the Daily Mail's critic was less enthusiastic, calling the actor "the weakest thing" in Trevor Nunn's "refreshing, funky" production.


Spacey was hailed as the saviour of the historic south London venue when he became its new chief in 2003.

But his first season in charge was met with mixed reviews, that led some to question his appointment.

Nunn's production, however - which uses large video screens and modern dress to highlight the play's contemporary relevance - appears to have won over the Oscar-winning actor's critics.

"It is strong enough for us to feel confident about the future of Spacey's regime and of our most venerable classic theatre," wrote Benedict Nightingale in The Times.

"Spacey's Armani-clad Richard received a great response from the first night audience," said the BBC's Neil Smith.

"So did his British co-star Ben Miles, who played the usurper Bolingbroke.

"There was some confusion over the power surge, but the general consensus was that it did not detract from the effectiveness of the production."

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