'The River,' with Hugh Jackman, runs cold and stark

November 17, 2014 1:24 PM

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NEW YORK — Hugh Jackman has dazzled audiences as an action-adventure hero, a romantic lead and a song-and-dance man. In The River (**½ out of four stars), the absorbing but frustrating puzzle of a play that brings him back to the stage, he tackles a different challenge, one that very much defies his crowd-pleasing instincts.

Jez Butterworth's new one-act drama, which opened Sunday at Circle in the Square, casts Jackman as The Man, surely one of the most elusive characters who has ever held court in a Broadway theater. He's a fisherman, a man of the natural world, who can wax poetic about a sunset or a sea trout or the i...

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