a steady rain

Jackman Versus Craig: Who Is Better?

Last night was the opening of Broadway’s A Steady Rain, Keith Huff’s play about a pair of Chicago cops who accidentally give a small child to a serial killer claiming to be the boy’s uncle (oops!). Many have wondered by how much Tony winner Hugh Jackman would outact co-star Daniel Craig, whose mustache, some have speculated, may have been grown to distract from his inability to make facial expressions. Well, reviews are finally in — so what’s the verdict? New York’s Scott Brown calls Rain “basic-cable-grade stuff.” But which actor is better in his role? Critics simply cannot decide!

“For the record, both are just fine in their parts, and in the case of Mr. Craig, almost unrecognizable with a milquetoast mustache and cowed mien, more than fine.” —Ben Brantley [NYT]

Craig, a.k.a. the latest and steeliest of the big-screen James Bonds, fares far better here, playing the more sympathetic of the men, a sadder, more disciplined officer who’s spent his career cleaning up after the messes of his short-fused, trigger-happy partner. —Peter Marks [WP]

“But, of course, it all comes down to the performances, and both Craig and Jackman are solid stage actors. Craig nails the accent a little bit better than Jackman, who occasionally gives his lines an Aussie inflection.” —Roma Torre [NY1]

Craig, his upper lip swallowed whole by a police-issue mustache, fares better and single-handedly lifts up the show. —Elisabeth Vincentelli [NYP]

“[B]oth men, particularly Craig, acquit themselves well … ” —Michael Kuchwara [AP]

Craig impresses even more as an ex-drunk sporting a ‘70s porn-star mustache, sad eyes and nervousness that masks a covetous,
 calculating side. His character’s true nature emerges as the most interesting thing about the play.” —Joe Dziemianowicz [NYDN]

“Denny is the flashier role with the more dramatic trajectory, and Jackman brings a powerful presence to it even if the character hasn’t quite yet become a second skin. There’s still evidence of the actor beneath the tough-talking hothead, but he shifts persuasively back and forth between easygoing volubility and the unpredictable menace of a man unwilling to relinquish control of any situation… Completely disappearing inside his character, Craig is superb.” —David Rooney [Variety]

Like we said — too close to call!

Jackman Versus Craig: Who Is Better?