Hollywood actor Ethan Hawke has failed to win over critics with his latest turn on the New York stage - his production of Clive has been branded "misguided" and "pretentious".
The Training Day star has returned in an Off-Broadway production of Clive, a modern update of Baal by Bertolt Brecht, which he also directs, playing a rock star on the path to self destruction.
However, Hawke's production has been hit with a slew of negative reviews from New York's notoriously tough theater critics after it opened at Manhattan's Acorn Theater on Thursday.
Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post gave the play just half a star out of a possible five, and calls the production a "resounding misfire of a show" adding, "Let's pretend this misguided, pretentious flameout (sic) never happened... It's as phoney as a '60s TV show about hippies."
Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News branded the play "dismaying" while the New York Times' Ben Brantley adds, "I regret to say that (the) show has (not) been all that well served by its leading man or for that matter by its director, who in the case of Clive happens to be Mr. Hawke... Clive (as Baal has been rechristened) comes across less as a satanic catalyst than just another rotten apple on a dying tree."
Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter concludes, "This amorphous drama severely tries one's patience even as it wastes the talents of an estimable cast... Hawke, who also directed, delivers an intense, admirably committed performance that nonetheless fails to make much of an impact... The production proves to have little reason for being... It mainly comes across as an actors' exercise, one that is undoubtedly more fulfilling for its creatives than for the beleaguered audience."
Hawke was last seen on the New York stage last year in a production of Anton Chekhov's Ivanov.