A Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’s sultry Mississippi-set play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has drawn plaudits for star Scarlett Johansson – but the production as a whole left many critics uninspired.
Ben Brantley of the New York Times called director Rob Ashford’s presentation an “oxygen-starved revival” but said Johansson, as spurned wife Maggie, “seems to possess a confidence that can turn raw nerves into raw power,” calling her “a stage actress of imposing presence and adventurous intelligence”.
The Telegraph’s Mark Hughes said the star’s performance was “charismatic, if at times slightly breathless,” adding that “audiences will not be disappointed by Scarlett Johansson’s return to the stage”.
Entertainment Weekly’s Thom Geier applauded Johansson’s “fierce fighting spirit” in the role but bemoaned Ashford’s “languorous” direction, saying the play contained “many an intoxicating individual moment without ever quite clicking”.
The Guardian called Cat on a Hot Tin Roof “little more than a star vehicle, erratically driven” but dubbed Johansson “very active and sometimes very good”.
“Somebody spayed the cat,” agreed The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney, “and it wasn’t the hard-working main attraction Scarlett Johansson.”