Jude Law Makes a Revelatory Performance in London
By MATT WOLF
Published: August 23, 2011
LONDON — Late August is supposed to be London’s theatrical silly season, that time of year during which things go quiet and cultural interest shifts northward to the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. How, then, to explain a recent array of openings testifying not just to ongoing activity in the capital but to arguably the most revelatory performance of Jude Law’s career?
You can glimpse that last achievement for yourself at the Donmar Warehouse, where Mr. Law has opened in “Anna Christie” for a limited run through Oct. 8. (The entire engagement is sold out, but there are always returns; a commercial transfer has been mooted, as well.) Cast as a swaggering Irish stoker last played on Broadway in 1993 by Liam Neeson, the slight-of-frame Englishman that is Mr. Law hardly sounds like the first person you would turn to for this role.
But that’s to discount the hours spent in the gym or with a trainer that are evident from Mr. Law’s bulked-up physique, which is on formidable view from the moment he first hauls himself in front of Ruth Wilson, playing the onetime prostitute of the title. Visual transformation aside, Mr. Law’s commitment to the brooding, near-animalistic intensity of the role impresses most, as if a film star whose stage forays of late have tended toward the decorative were in fact reinventing himself from the inside out.
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