The British actress has marked her first turn on the Great White Way with the lead role in Therese Raquin, a dark tale of infidelity adapted from the 1867 novel by Emile Zola.

The curtain went up on the production at the Studio 54 theatre in New York City on Thursday night (29Oct15), but Keira has failed to win over critics with her portrayal of the haunted heroine.

Alexis Soloski of Britain's The Guardian newspaper gave the play just two stars out of five, declaring that "Keira Knightley languishes in lugubrious dud... It's a torrid tale of murder and sexual obsession - but you wouldn't know it from this damp production, Knightley's Broadway debut, which alternately inspires yawns and giggles...

"The play runs some two and a half hours and seems longer. (Keira) seems oddly flat here... 'I'm so tired,' Therese says at the play's end. 'I'm so tired'. She spoke for so many of us..."

The New York Times' Ben Brantley was equally unimpressed, insisting the play is "curiously lacking in tension of any kind", adding, "The focal point of both Ms. Knightley's appearance and performance is her eyes... Not since the days of silent movies has a star relied so completely on her gaze to speak for her... It feels, well, unnatural... It is also a style of acting that clashes... violently with that of the others onstage."

Peter Marks of the Washington Post writes, "As for the vehicle Knightley has chosen for her Broadway debut, a confoundingly dreary adaptation of... Therese Raquin: one is hard-pressed to find much in it of interest, or even of a marginally stirring nature."

"Well, there might have been some fun if there were a smidgen of electricity between Knightley and (co-star Matt) Ryan..." Jeremy Gerard of writes. "No such luck here. There's a detachment between the stars I can only describe as fatal... Therese Raquin is a sexless bore."