Daniel Craig's Betrayal impresses in Broadway

The play, the first stage collaboration for the celebrity couple, opened on Sunday night.

Daniel Craig

NEW YORK - Betrayal, Harold Pinter's drama about marital infidelity starring James Bond actor Daniel Craig and his real-life wife Rachel Weisz, is one of the hottest plays on Broadway and critics said on Monday it is worth the price of the ticket.

Craig, 45, plays the cuckolded Robert, while Weisz, a best supporting actress Oscar winner for 2005's Constant Gardener, is Emma, the wife who betrays him by having a seven-year affair with his best friend.

"Anyone who shelled out the big bucks to see James Bond in the flesh will get more than they bargained for in Mike Nichols' impeccable revival of Betrayal," said the trade publication Variety.

The New York Daily News praised Craig and Weisz, 43, for the star power they brought to the play, which also stars British actor Rafe Spall, 30, as the third part of the love triangle.

"The big-screen _James Bond _and the Constant Gardener Oscar winner are smashing and sexy in Mike Nichols' graceful and stealthily devastating production of Pinter's autobiographical play," it said.

The Independent newspaper of London described the production as a commercial phenomenon and tickets are selling on unofficial websites for more than $650 each. The performances by Craig and Weisz, it added, "render it a Betrayal on fire."

END OF THE AFFAIR

Betrayal, which set a box-office record for its first week of preview performances, is based on Pinter's affair in the 1960s with British broadcaster Joan Bakewell.

Written in reverse chronology with sparse dialogue and varying plot twists, it begins with the end of the affair and the final scene depicts its beginning.

The play has had numerous revivals in England and the United States, and actors Jeremy Irons and Patricia Hodge starred in the 1983 film adaptation.

Variety described Craig's performance as the cuckold as "pitch-perfect and expertly acted," and added that Weisz, making her Broadway debut, was "superb" along with Spall as the adulterous lovers.

The Independent said Craig, who previously appeared on Broadway in 2009 with "Wolverine" actor Hugh Jackman in the play A Steady Rain, was brilliant.

USA Today acknowledged that Weisz is an experienced stage actress, but it said her performance seemed studied.

Although The New York Times praised Craig for bringing the same intensity to talking as he did to his death-defying feats as James Bond, it said the production was crude and clumsy.

Betrayal is scheduled to run until January 5.