Kevin Spacey won a standing ovation and glowing reviews following his debut as Shakespeare's Richard III on Wednesday (29Jun11).
Spacey appeared onstage at London's Old Vic theatre with his leg in a metal brace for the new production, which reunites him with his American Beauty director Sam Mendes.
His moving performance won unanimous praise from critics, with Paul Taylor from Britain's Independent newspaper describing the play as "spine-tingling".
He adds, "It's now 12 years since the pair (Spacey and Mendes) joined forces as actor and director. Mendes's (sic) new, eclectically modern dress production of Richard Iii demonstrates that it has been worth the wait."
Charles Spencer, from The Daily Telegraph, writes, "There is a curious grace as (Spacey) minces around on his withered leg and turned-in foot and exactly the right kind of glee in his villainy. His Richard is often laugh out loud funny."
Theatre reporter Michael Billington, of The Guardian, also heaped praise on Spacey, declaring: "Sam Mendes has come up with a beautifully clear, coherent modern-dress production in which the protagonist becomes an autocratic archetype. But the real buzz and excitement stems from Kevin Spacey's powerful central performance."
The cast of Richard Iii will hit the road for an international tour with stops at the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Spain and Singapore, before reaching New York next year (Jan12).