Zach Braff's 'All New People' Given Cool Reception By UK Critics
Scrubs star Zach Braff's first foray into the West End has opened to a cool reception from critics.
The American actor wrote and appears in All New People at the Duke of York's theatre, in which he plays a suicidal thirtysomething, after the show's successful run in New York.
Libby Purves, for the Times, gave it one out of five stars, calling it "the most aimless, pointless, immature play I have ever seen" which, if it flops, "will prove that cynical box-ticking isn't enough".
She wrote: "You can't (or shouldn't be able to) succeed just by targeting the disposable income and free evenings of trendy urban youth, keeping a play to 90 minutes, setting it in an aspirational beach-house full of modern art, using soapy video inserts and generally holding up a soft-focus mirror to every dead-end narcotic and sexual self-indulgence of the age."
Michael Billington, for the Guardian, gave it two of out of five stars, saying: "What promises to be a savagely black comedy turns into a muddled, meandering affair that reeks of self-gratification."
He said one or two lines suggest Braff's comic talents and noted that the actors "do all that is required of them".
But he said the play was finally undone by "its mixture of sentimentality and sexism".
The reaction among the UK's more sniffy theatre critics has contrasted sharply with the play's reception in the US, where the New York Times praised All New People as "consistently and sometimes sensationally funny".
Stars including chat show host Graham Norton, Sherlock star Lara Pulver and actress Tamsin Greig were among the audience last night
Model Taylor Bagley, who is Braff's girlfriend, comedian Dave Gorman and DJ Edith Bowman also attended.
All New People also features Eve Myles, Paul Hilton and Susannah Fielding.
As well as being known for his role in medical sitcom Scrubs, Braff won praise for the 2004 movie Garden State, which he wrote, directed and acted in.