Theater: The Misanthrope,

a version by Martin Crimp

Ah, the vagaries of buzz. Nicole Kidman comes to Broadway in a David Hare trifle, and the theater world foams at the mouth in anticipation. Uma Thurman, another hot film star, makes her off-Broadway debut in a Moliere classic and gets a big yawn. To be sure, her performance betrays inexperience: slouchy and tentative instead of brittle and biting. But the production around her is smashing. Director Barry Edelstein puts slick designer duds on Crimp's smart update of the play to the phony '90s show-biz world, and the terrific Roger Rees, as Alceste, could teach any young actress a thing or...

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