Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Knightley to Remember. Keira Dazzles in West End Stage Debut

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Knightley to Remember. Keira Dazzles in West End Stage Debut

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Dominiczak and Terry Kirby

CRITICS have yet to deliver their verdict, but Keira Knightley's West End debut last night met rave reviews from the audience.

The British star, more used to Hollywood blockbusters, who plays an American socialite in the updated version of Moliere's The Misanthrope at the Comedy Theatre, appeared to have confounded cynics who said she would struggle on stage.

While the official "first night" is not until next week, Knightley's opening performance treading the boards was "wonderful" according to members of the 800-strong audience.

The show took more than [pounds sterling]1 million in ticket sales in four days on the strength of Knightley's casting, which is alongside another A-lister, Damian Lewis, the British star of Band of Brothers.

Knightley joins stars such as Cate Blanchett, Sienna Miller and Nicole Kidman in making the move from screen to stage.

"Keira was extremely good," said Dee Jeffery, 48, an interior designer from Fulham. "I thought she was even better than Damian Lewis, which was a real surprise to me. She did a wonderful job."

Melanie Hamelle, 33, a marketing director from south London, said: "She was amazing. We're so used to seeing American actors come to the West End and pretend to be British and it's more unusual to see a Brit doing an American accent -- but she did it brilliantly.

"She was so confident throughout the whole performance. I didn't come specifically to see Keira perform but I've been a big fan for a long time and she didn't disappoint. …

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