Originally created 05/26/05

Mixed reviews for Schwimmer's West End debut



LONDON - London theater reviewers blew hot and cold over David Schwimmer's West End debut in Neil LaBute's "Some Girls."

Several praised Schwimmer's turn as a soon-to-be-married womanizer visiting four former girlfriends. But others doubted he was the right actor to tackle a writer famed - in plays such as "In the Company of Men" and "Your Friends and Neighbors" - for unblinking examinations of male misogyny.

The Independent's Paul Taylor found LaBute and Schwimmer "an incongruous pairing." "Throughout, Schwimmer remains bland, competent and boyish... This love rat would much rather be stroked than bite," he wrote in Wednesday's edition.

For The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts, Schwimmer's performance couldn't erase the image of his unlucky-in-love sitcom character, Ross Geller, on NBC's "Friends."

"It's all perfectly likable but the role probably has greater possibilities," Letts wrote. "A more sinister edge might have been interesting to see, but I'm not sure Mr. Schwimmer does sinister. He's just Ross."

But The Times' Benedict Nightingale was impressed by Schwimmer's "earnest, anxious figure who sometimes seems less like a man than a dog eager to be told he's a good boy."

The show, "while never bland, could sometimes be tenser," he wrote.

"Yet there's plenty of subtle, telling funny writing in a play which is far more than an excuse for a TV star to parade his skills in London."

And Daily Telegraph critic Charles Spencer found Schwimmer "inspired casting."

Most critics found something to like in LaBute's play and in David Gridley's world-premiere production at the Gielgud Theatre. Many praised Catherine Tate, Lesley Manville, Sara Powell and Saffron Burrows as the variously wronged women.

"Some Girls" is scheduled to run until Aug. 13.